1968 was a year of extraordinary tragedy, triumph, and transformation. The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy failed to halt the juggernaut of the Civil Rights Movement. Richard Nixon was elect... more »ed President following riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. As rockets rained down on fighting men in Vietnam, a NASA rocket carried men into lunar orbit. From music to politics to issues of feminism, race, and war, 1968 left almost no facet of American life unchanged.
Now, legendary award-winning journalist and best-selling author Tom Brokaw commemorates the revolutionary events of this pivotal year in a feature-length special, based on his book, Boom!: Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today. Drawing upon his decades of experience, Brokaw revisits the scenes of these iconic events, pairing provocative voices from the past and present to explore how these 40-year-old moments still impact our lives today.
"This documentary DVD is of value as an introduction to the late 1960's period, and an interesting retrospective for people who experienced the turmoil of the times. The piece also gives some perspectives on how the repercussions of the events of 1968 continue to be felt.
Brokaw's companion piece to his book "Boom: Voices of the Sixties" reviews the most significant events in this turbulent year and places the events in their historical context. The Tet offensive in Vietnam, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, student uprisings, the Chicago Democratic Convention and increasing black militancy all receive balanced treatment. In addition, the documentary examines the evolving New Left, civil rights and counter culture movements, as well as the reaction to them on the part of the larger "silent majority." The beginnings of the feminist movement are also described.
Brokaw's interviews include participants in events as well as people who experienced them from the outside. Events are treated with balance, as when the Chicago convention riots are described by both a policeman and a protestor who were present that night. Pat Buchanan is especially effective at highlighting how 1968 became a pivotal year for the rise of conservatism in presidential politics.
The program suffers from some sloppy and inattentive editing. For example, the interview of the army nurse in Vietnam only includes part of a story which, in the book version, helps explain the deep emotional impact of the war on her life. Also, the Arlo Guthrie segment on "Alice's Restaurant" comes across as a sentimental sing-along, and misses an opportunity to use the song to highlight the attitudes of many young people toward the military draft. Sometimes the editing feels "soft" and the material is a bit redundant around the commercial breaks.
Most annoying, especially when viewing the piece more than once, is the soundtrack on the disc. According to the DVD box, the soundtrack music on the original History Channel broadcast was replaced for the DVD version. The unlicensed, generic "tunes" that frame the documentary feel cheesy and cheap. Studio musicians attempt to replicate the sound of the times with tracks that sound familiar but never quite emerge as recognizable tunes.
All in all, "1968" is an interesting and useful retrospective on a very difficult year in American history. More attention to detail and more resources dedicated to music licensing would have made this a powerful piece, but it's still worth a look."
Wow, just wow!
T. Dixon | 01/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i watched this show on history channel, and wow. what a great piece tom did. it was real cool to be able to connect why we do things certain ways today all because of things going on in 1968. highly recommended"
Tom Brokow: 1968
E&F Roosevelt | New Jersey USA | 03/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This video was excellent! Having been born in 1968 it was great to see so many of the events that literally "changed" America unfold before my eyes. As a high school history teacher,I purchased this video to show my senior United States History classes. It was both informative and entertaining (even for 17 and 18 year olds!)"
Feeble Endeavor at Objectivity
Claudius Marcellus | 02/24/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary could only serve as a demonstration for those studying the sociology of the late-1960s disintegration of genuine political liberalism into what the eminent Harvard sociologist Stanley Kurtz has delineated as 'left-liberalism.' Some may ask why is Jon Stewart in a documentary on 1968? Conversely anyone familiar with Kurtz's work on the subject will know precisely why he is included. The late-1960s counter-culture direction was a 'great awakening' functionalist quasi-religious development. Brokaw makes a dismal attempt at objectivity in this documentary acutely because he is an apologist for this distinct functionalist quasi-religion. For a more objective look at the counter-culture direction of the late 1960s I would suggest viewing the Firing Line episode entitled 'The Hippies,' or to read the work Stanley Kurtz has done on the subject in the book, Never a Matter of Indifference: Sustaining Virtue in a Free Republic. This Brokaw documentary is a non-objective religious glamorization of the era; not a serious work by any measure."
WERE YOU THERE WHEN IT HAPPENED?
Loves To Read | Twin Cities, MN USA | 08/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"STORY - This History Channel documentary with Tom Brokaw as host highlights the most turbulent year of, arguably, the most turbulent decade in our country's history. It is hard to dispute the statement that America changed dramatically during the sixties and 1968 seemed to be the year that everything changed. There were two major assassinations, a riot at the Democratic convention, violent protests on college campuses, and a very contentious presidential campaign with the sitting president, Lyndon Johnson, opting not to run again. Drug use was rampant among the 'hippie' generation. But there was also the 'silent majority' who continued to pursue their version of the American way. These views clashed in often violent ways stretching the ability of law enforcement to contain them at times. Not to mention the race issue inflamed by the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. Did I mention feminism and the rise of the women's liberation movement? And for good measure add a resurrected politician named Richard Nixon into the mix. It was fitting that the year should culminate in one of the greatest achievements of mankind, the Apollo 8 Space Mission to the moon. 1968 is not just a year in the past, it is an experience that still influences society today among those who experienced it and those influenced by them. If you missed the sixties, this is a good place to start in understanding what happened. Plenty of good archival footage from actual events. The low ratings of some people seem to have more to do with what's missing than what's included. Unfortunately a 90 minute documentary about 1968 will inevitably leave out some important events or different perspectives. WWW.LUSREVIEWS.BLOGSPOT.COM. "