Madison, Wisconsin, 1950-1970Edited by Paul Buhle
Madison, Wisconsin has long been known as a dynamic cultural center and focus of political-intellectual ferment in the middle of America. This collection of essays and interviews traces the rise of an intellectual New Left from 1950 to 1970 as experienced by activists and scholars with ties to the University of Wisconsin. Its thirty-two contributors, including prominent historians, journalist-scholars, and veteran political activists, re-examine their own personal histories in different eras and draw fresh, often surprising conclusions. The city and campus of Madison provide a veritable laboratory for the study of deep continuities in American dissenting thought. Photographs and cultural documents accompany these poignant, candid oral histories.
The volume explores a crucial period of Madison’s intellectual life as a crossroad of history and culture. Interviews with the scholars and former students who politicized historical analysis in light of the Cold War, McCarthyism, nuclear and environmental holocaust, civil rights, and the Vietnam War, recall the debates and alliances that kept Madison in a state of ferment.
"Buhle has assembled a rich collection of people to reflect on how that community's traditions and meeting grounds in the 1950s and 1960s interacted to shape their own creative contribution." David Thelen, Journal of American History
"Madison, Wisconsin, in the 1950s and 1960s was a rich soup of Wisconsin progressives, New York folksingers, socialists, and communists from all parts, actors, hyper-energetic graduate students, future film folk, culture criticsand above all, historians. The modern school of history-from-the-bottom-up came out of Madison. The place was probably the single most creative center of the American New Left. It was the place to beas you'll see when you read the autobiographical reminiscences in this imaginative volume." Paul Berman, New York Institute for the Humanities