Author: Bernard Von Bothmer, Ph.D., Author

Publisher:University of Massachusetts Press
ISBN 978-1-55849-732-0

Click Here To Purchase Framing the Sixties: The Use and Abuse of a Decade from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush

Dr. Bothmer was born and raised in New York City. (2010, insert inside back cover) He is a graduate of Brown University (Bachelors degree), Stanford University (Masters degree), and Indiana University (Ph.D). Currently he teaches American History at the University of San Francisco and Dominican University of California. He is married with two daughters.

Many people helped Dr. Bothmer to formulate his background information and interviews for this very comprehensive book. It literally encompasses the time span from the election of President Kennedy through George W. Bush’s term in office. Dr. Bothmer‘s writing, as does much of the right, pays homage to President Kennedy however short his time was in office. His election galvanized Americans around hope and what good we could effect for others in our march toward equality and creation of a more perfect nation. Dr. King’s civil rights movement helped shape our future, as Americans, more than any man of his stature previously had. That he lost his life fighting for, and gaining access to, a noble cause makes the bitter more sweet.

What would the sixties be without the taint of Vietnam? While our young people were being drafted to fight a war that was not winnable by any stretch of the imagination protestors at home marched for peace. The nation was divided, perhaps for the first time in our young history, on what America should do with regard to Vietnam. Leaders during this time pressed for passage of Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Medicare, and Welfare. The right did not unite behind these noble causes then, and most do not now. Had the war not been such a major distraction and factor of that time perhaps more emphasis would be spent lauding the good things that came from that era.

Much of this book describes how diametrically opposite the republican and democrat perspectives were, and remain to this day, on the 1960’s. However twisted the rhetoric from the right it has helped them to hold sway with regard to President’s elected into office. Conveniently the right dismisses President Nixon, who might never have been impeached in this day and age especially after the goings on by George W. Bush. Many on the right saw Nixon’s policies as [paraphrase] not truly conservative, but more an extension of what President Kennedy had outlined, and they were not fans of President Kennedy, but realized that dissing him (Kennedy) meant losing potential votes. (2010, p.15)

It wasn’t until the electoral campaign for Reagan began that the right sought to make stark contrasts between the “good” and “bad” sixties. The right felt that this decade (1960’s) was so was awful for America because it degraded family and moral values. They believed that the Vietnam war was a just cause and that all who protested against it must surely be communists: not much has changed in that regard for them either. President Ford was hardly more than a blip on the screen for the republican party. President H.W. Bush and his son continued to revise history such that war was, or at least should be, noble and just and the presidents who presided over such would have the best legacy. The fondest decade for the right was the 1950’s where white men ruled the world.

Despite the devastating loss of President Kennedy and Dr. King the left felt that the 1960’s were a time to celebrate hope and to usher in equality for ALL people. They (democrats), under President Johnson, set about enacting programs that would help the poor, provide increased opportunity to the minorities, and begin to turn a wartime protest toward peace and prosperity. Kennedy and the left contended that government could be a good thing for her people because it helps to speed social justice and creates positive, lasting change. Not many democratic presidents since have evoked President Johnson or President Carter, but both were good men who wanted what was best for ALL Americans. When President Clinton was elected the right tried every dirty trick in the book to paint him as a freewheeling, draft-dodging, product of the “bad” 1960’s. It did not stick! President Clinton presided over the longest peacetime and most prosperous period, for all classes, in our recent history. When he left office there was a surplus for the first time ever, previously the right had painted the left as tax and spend. President Clinton proved that the democrats can be fiscally responsible and effective on domestic and international policy too!

This book is jam packed with credible interviews from major governmental players from both parties in the decades from 1960 through 2008. While some of the reading made me mad on general principle others made me smile and filled me with pride. Long live our right to free speech, open debate, and the two party system. I would recommend this book for every undergraduate program in government, history, civics, social studies, or public policy. Thank you Dr. Bothmer for a very interesting and informative read!

Click Here To Purchase Framing the Sixties: The Use and Abuse of a Decade from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush