Berkeley, California stood at the center of the political, social, and cultural upheaval that made the 1960s a unique period in American history. In Berkeley at War, W.J. Rorabaugh, who attended the graduate school of the University of California at Berkeley in the 1970s, presents a lively, informative account of the events that changed forever what had once been a quiet, conservative white suburb.
Rorabaugh's meticulously researched, authoritative narrative covers the entire period, from the rise of the Free Speech Movement to the growth and increasing militance of a black community struggling to end segregation; from the emergence of radicalism and the anti-war movement to the blossoming "hippie" culture; and from the explosive conflict over People's Park to the beginnings of modern-day feminism and environmentalism. An invaluable account of its time and place, Berkeley at War anchors the sixties in American history, both before and since that colorful decade.
"Accessible and stiulating."--Perry Blatz, Duquesne University
"Thorough and engaging popular history."--New York Newsday
"A skillful researcher who also possesses a vigorous narrative style, Rorabaugh brings scholarly clarity to the turmoil of the mid- to late-1960's."--Publisher's Weekly
"Evocative and smoothly written....A compelling story of politics and power, silliness and cynicism, ideology and idiosyncrasies....Rorabaugh catches the temper of the times....He leads deftly from boardroom to classroom, coffeehouse to crash pad, in a perceptive and evenhanded Baedeker to a turbulent era."--Kirkus Reviews
"[Rorabaugh's] meticulous account brings back those years, while showing how little most of us really knew about the forces setthing around us then....The book conveys many vivid images of a unique city as well as provides an authoritative account of an era. The significance of Berkeley at War lies in the fact that Berkeley was a quintessential American city of the 1960s--and those times still shape our world today."--The Seattle Times
"Rorabaugh narrates the events and identifies the issues that swirled into headlines and newscasts as the disenfranchised sought to get their messages and their cases before the general public. The success and outcome of that power struggle are authoritatively assessed in this detailed chronicle of a watershed moment in American society's development."--Booklist
"A welcome addition to literature about the sixties....Can help readers better understand both Berkeley in the 1960s and our contemporary historical circumstances as well. It is a book about the past, but also one very much about the present. With it...we will be able to place our own lives in context, in proper perspective."--The Stanford Daily
"A sober and absorbing chronicle of the transformation of a university town into a political battlefield."--Indochina Chronology
"Excellent....A unique, well-balanced, and solidly researched study."--Perspective
"Excellent....A unique, well-balanced, and solidly researched study that will be of interest to scholars and laypersons interested in the turbulent decade that now lies twenty years in the past but that still strongly reverberates in the consciousness of all who lived through it."--Perspective
"[A] stimulating history of the tumult at the University of California at Berkeley in the 1960s."--The Washington Post
"In prose that is clear and frequently elegant, Rorabaugh has succeeded in providing a coherent overview of both the place and the decade, not an easy challenge."--California Monthly
"[The] sources utilized here are voluminous and minded extremely well....Comprehensive, if not always forceful, narrative."--Barbara L. Tischler, Queens College, CUNY