The perils of choosing a signature year

Posted in book reviews, books by Diane on August 18, 2009

Many of the big bang explosions of 1960s were rooted in little bangs from the previous decade, notes Patricia Cohen in today’s NYT, making Fred Kaplan’s decision to cram as many of them as possible into 1959 problematical. “What becomes increasingly clear with every chapter, however, is that nearly any one of that decade’s other years could serve equally well, if not better, as a turning point,” she writes in her review of “1959: The Year Everything Changed.” “History rarely adheres to the Gregorian calendar, and the need to squish everything into the self-imposed 365-day timeline causes Mr. Kaplan at times to treat his argument like a gerrymandered district, stretching it beyond its natural shape.” Read the review


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