The Sixties

Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, 1958-1974
Marwick, Arthur
Date published: 
October 1999

Nothing quite like it, and nothing ever quite the same again Mention of the sixties arouses strong emotions, even in those who were already old when the sixties began and those who were not yet born when the sixties ended. For some, it is a golden age of political progress; others see it as an era in which depravity was celebrated, and the secure moral and social framework subverted. The sixties was unquestionably a decade of exceptional historical si gnificance, witnessing transformation in personal relationships, in attitudes towards authority, in modes of self-presentation, in material standards, customs, and behaviour. Arthur Marwick's book is a monumental study of social and political change in Europe and the United States during this period of cultural revolution. Paying particular attention to the impact of the sixties on the lives of ordinary people, Marwick exposes as myths and caricatures many of the accepted views of the decade. He analyses phenomena as diverse as sexual permissiveness, innovations in high art, the civil rights movement, feminism, improvements in material conditions, the rise of youth culture, and trends towards individualism and self-expression, arguing that the sixties was no short-term era of ecstasy and excess, fit only for nostalgia or contempt. On the contrary, the sixties set the cultural and social agenda for the rest of the century.

Marwick is a best-selling author with considerable experience of writing for a broad audience rather than a narrow specialist one

The Sixties is Marwick's magnum opus

Focuses on the US, Britain, France, and Italy through the long sixties: 1958-74