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A turbulent decade, thoroughly revisited

The Global Sixties. A Cultural History

Geert Buelens

The cover says it all: this book is a unique cultural history of the 1960s as a global phenomenon. It includes both thematic and chronological accounts of the ways in which great geopolitical and cultural developments interlock. Also, the author discusses the origins of culture and value patterns which remain sources of inspiration and controversy today.

A magnificent book that honours all these coloured voices that are so often left out of the narrative (Hadjar Benmiloud)

The canon of sixties culture is subject to little discussion: the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jean-Luc Godard, Michelangelo Antonioni, Andy Warhol and the miniskirt will all appear on most lists, perhaps supplemented with James Bond, ‘Star Trek’ or John Coltrane. The focus on these landmarks, however, has produced a one-sided image of the decade. Other phenomena from mainstream culture such as ‘West Side Story’, ‘Cleopatra’, ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Boeing Boeing’, Brigitte Bardot, Barbra Streisand, West and East German westerns and the twist and bossa nova crazes are just as important for a proper understanding of the period.

This book deals with the usual counterculture suspects and the Flower Power generation, as well as the sensitivities and tastes of what American President Nixon called the Silent Majority. It takes into account the work of artists from Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia in a dazzling overview that puts the Sixties in a new perspective.

A magnum opus that shows very convincingly that the reduction of the sixties to ‘May ‘68’, protesting youth, long-haired young adults (m/f) with a guitar in their hands and flowers in their hair does not correspond with reality