Others may think of the1960s as the Last Good Time, but Roger Kimball has no patience with false nostalgia. In his view, the sixties were the seedbed of excess and moral breakdown. He argues that the revolutionary assaults on "the System" that took place then still define the way we live now, with intellectually debased schools and colleges, morally chaotic sexual relations and family life, and a degraded media and popular culture.
"This inheritance has addled our hearts and minds," Kimball writes, "and perverted our dreams while also preventing us from attaining them."
The Long March is organized around incisive portraits of the architects of America's cultural revolution, among them Beat figures like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac and celebrated or once-celebrated gurus like Norman Mailer, Timothy Leary, Eldridge Cleaver, and Susan Sontag. In examining the lives and works of those who spoke for the 1960s, Kimball finds a series of cautionary tales, an annotated guidebook of wrong turns, dead-ends, and blind alleys that, tragically, became a roadmap to the present.
Kimball is managing editor of The New Criterion and a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal, he has taught at Yale and Connecticut College