The Rise and Fall of an Idealist

If any one person can be said to represent the political awakening of young Americans in the 1960s, it would be Allard Lowenstein. From his undergraduate years at Chapel Hill in the 1950s to his murder in 1980 by a psychotic former protégé—from a time well before most young people …

For Their Own Good

If President Clinton’s health care reform proposal becomes law in anything like the form he has proposed, it will be the first genuinely universal system of social insurance in American history, and a striking departure from all previous efforts to build and expand the welfare state. For until now, virtually …

The Good Old Days

In 1976, Godfrey Hodgson, a British journalist with long experience covering American politics, published America in Our Time, a remarkable study of America’s fall from the enormous power and confidence of the 1950s and early 1960s to the disillusionment of the post-Vietnam, post-Watergate era. Among the principal culprits in this …

The Best Years of Their Lives

What has happened to the trade union movement in America? During the 1930s and 1940s, when millions of American workers joined industrial unions, it seemed to many people that one of the deepest social changes of the century was about to take place. The moment inspired hopes (and fears) of …

Dreams of the Sixties

For a brief moment in the 1960s, a small group of student radicals managed to do what the American left had largely failed to achieve in almost a century of trying: create a genuine mass movement. It was short-lived, to be sure, and soon collapsed on itself in a paroxysm …

The Best Man

Stephen Ambrose began his distinguished biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower with open admiration for his subject. Eisenhower, he writes, was “a great and good man…one of the outstanding leaders of the Western world of this century.”[^1] He offers no comparable evaluation of Richard Nixon in this first of two volumes …

Dreams of a G-Man

J. Edgar Hoover, Tom Wicker once wrote, “wielded more power, longer, than any man in American history.[^1] That assessment would be difficult to dispute. When Hoover died in 1972, he had been director of the FBI for forty-eight years—three fourths of its life and two thirds of his own. He …