The Enormous Back Room
It has become a commonplace for social commentators to say that 1968 was the year when the fabric of American life unravelled—when the moral ground shifted and quaked under American feet; when the political far left turned violent and took on ominous fieldmarks of the far right; when the democratic idealism and optimism of the mass of Americans seemed to become a delusion. In January, the U.S.S. Pueblo, on a mission of espionage, was seized in the Sea of Japan with its eighty-three-man crew by North Koreans, and so the mightiest nation in the world was humiliated both morally and physically by one of the smallest and weakest. In February, the Kerner commission on civil disorders, a formally constituted government ...