In the New World: Growing Up with America from the Sixties to the Eighties

In the New World: Growing Up with America from the Sixties to the Eighties

Lawrence Wright

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 0345802950

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

We first meet Larry Wright in 1960. He is thirteen and moving with his family to Dallas, the essential city of the New World just beginning to rise across the southern rim of the United States. As we follow him through the next two decades—the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, the devastating assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., the sexual revolution, the crisis of Watergate,  and the emergence of Ronald Reagan—we relive the pivotal and shocking events of those crowded years.

Lawrence Wright has written the autobiography of a generation, giving back to us with stunning force the feelings of those turbulent times when the euphoria of Kennedy’s America would come to its shocking end. Filled with compassion and insight, In the New World is both the intimate tale of one man’s coming-of-age, and a universal story of the American experience of two crucial decades.

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because that evening on the television news millions of Americans met the new Lyndon Johnson. They suddenly understood him exactly as he understood himself. He was a liberal—in the Southern context. Overnight he became an acceptable candidate to big-city Northern Democrats who had automatically hated him and to traditional Democrats everywhere who had not (they now admitted) seen past the corn-pone mannerisms of LBJ to the winking FDR inside him. That evening, watching the news, thousands of

been saved.” Only in Dallas could Walker have been seen as a figure of such importance. He wasn’t even that notable in Texas. He had run for governor in 1962 and finished last in a field of six. To the world at large, Walker was just another right-wing Dallas fanatic, a curiosity. Oswald did not make any further attempts on Walker’s life, but he did follow the general’s activities in the city. Walker was now partly martyred and riding high. When UN ambassador Adlai Stevenson announced that he

reformer with a New Orleanian sense of ethical balance. He had cleaned up Bourbon Street, which meant keeping the G-strings on the dancers and getting rid of the streetwalkers. He cracked down on gambling operations in Orleans Parish but left intact the sacrosanct pinball machines, which paid off at the rate of a nickel a game (I had several friends who went to school on a “pinball scholarship”). The big gambling syndicates fled next door, to Jefferson Parish, out of Big Jim’s grasp. Garrison had

realize was the threshold of pain. Capitalism, at least in its ruthless new world incarnation, must be incompatible with charm. Along with the environmental relief I was enjoying, there was the anonymity of travel. Until now I had been surrounded all my life by people who knew me and who expected me to behave in a particular way. For the first time I was traveling alone, and I discovered that luxurious, uncorseted feeling of being unknown. I might be anybody. It was a joy to leave behind the

being offered a way out of the draft entirely—on a trumped-up kidney complaint. Until now I had not understood that there was a large conspiracy to keep white middle-class kids out of the war. I had thought we were doing it ourselves, through cleverness. Everybody had a secret prescription for failing the physical, such as eating twenty egg whites so that albumin would show up in the urinalysis, or drinking a pint of your own blood to simulate an ulcer (you threw it up—it had to be yours because

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