Reexamine common perspectives about an unruly year that remains politically and socially radioactive. We will aim to understand what Greil Marcus once called the “moods of rage, excitement, loneliness, fatalism, desire” that buffeted Berkeley and the world in 1968. A half-century later, we still don’t understand its legacy and need a more subtle comprehension of what a historical moment contains, as well as its unacknowledged victories and hidden defeats.
Steve Wasserman, publisher of Heyday Books, is former editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review. He grew up in Berkeley and organized the first demonstration against the Vietnam War in 1965 among junior high school students. In 1968 he co-led a successful student strike at Berkeley High School that founded the first black history and studies department at an American public high school.