Todd Gitlin: The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage

There may not have been a single master fear, but to many in my generation, especially the incipient New Left, the grimmest and least acknowledged underside of affluence was the Bomb.... Whatever the national pride in the blasts that pulverized Bikini and Eniwetok atolls, whatever the Atomic Energy Commission's bland assurances, the Bomb actually disrupted our daily lives. We grew up taking cover in school drills--the first American generation compelled from infancy to fear not only war but the end of days. Every so often, out of the blue, a teacher would pause in the middle of class and call out, "Take cover!" We knew, then, to scramble under our miniature desks and to stay there, cramped, heads folded underĀ  our arms, until the teacher called out, "All clear!" Sometimes the whole school was taken out into the halls, away from the windows, and instructed to crouch down, heads to the walls, our eyes scrunched closed, until further notice. Sometimes air raid sirens went off out in the wider world, and whole cities were told to stay indoors. Who knew what to believe? Under the desks and crouched in the hallways, terrors were ignited, existentialists were made. Whether or not we believed that hiding under a school desk or in a hallway was really going to protect us from the furies of an atomic blast, we could never quite take for granted that the world we had been born into was destined to endure.... The Bomb was the shadow hanging over all human endeavor. It threatened all the prizes. It might, if one thought about it radically, undermine the rationale of the nation-state. It might also throw the traditional religious and ethical justifications of existence into disarray, if not disrepute. The Bomb that exploded in Hiroshima gave the lie to official proclamations that the ultimate weapon was too terrible to be used. (22-23)

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Criticism Overview
Title Todd Gitlin: The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Todd Gitlin Criticism Target Gregory Corso
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 05 Jul 2015
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication No Data
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