1968 was unlike any year before it.
Historians have said it left an “indelible” mark on the American psyche. The daily news was filled with images of death, destruction and dissidence.
The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, along with the graphic execution of a Viet Cong prisoner, are seared into the collective American conscious.
When the nation wasn’t struggling with the growing violence of the world, it was entranced by the heavenly images of planet Earth sent back by the Apollo 8 space mission.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of that watershed year, City Pulse is sponsoring a monthly book club that will run through all of 2018.
Each book club meeting will be held at Schuler’s Eastwood Towne Center location on the first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. Exceptions come when the Thursday falls near a holiday, when the book club will meet on the second Thursday of that month.
Jan. 4 1968: “The Year that Rocked the World” by Mark Kurlansky. A good introduction to the pivotal year in American history. Kurlansky tells a straight forward history of the events that changed the world.
Feb. 1 “The Odyssey of Echo Company” by Doug Stanton. Perhaps one of the best looks at the Tet Offensive, as seen through the eyes of the soldiers who fought it. The book is intense, brutal and honest. Stanton’s two previous works, “In Harm’s Way” and “The Horse Soldiers,” will come to the big screen in 2018.
March 1 “ MyLai: Vietnam, 1968, and the Descent into Darkness” by Howard Jones. This nail-biting and exhaustive narrative places the My Lai Massacre within the wider context of the Vietnam War.
April 5 “Parting the Waters: America in the King Years” by Taylor Branch. An in-depth look at the early activist life of Martin Luther King Jr. and the emerging Civil Rights Movement.
May 3 “Myra Breckinridge” by Gore Vidal. Deemed pornographic in 1968, it explores sexual norms and what was then called transsexuality through satire. A movie of the same name starred Raquel Welch.
June 7 “Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit” by Chris Matthews. The host of MSNBC’s Hardball writes an unusual biography of Bobby, taking into consideration the many moral conflicts of one of America’s most famous political martyrs.
July 12 “Summer of 68: The Season that Changed Baseball and America Forever” by Tim Wendel.
This book delves into the Detroit Tigers’ 1968 World Series run told against the backdrop of a changing America.
“The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test” by Tom Wolfe and/or “Slouching Toward Bethlehem” by Joan Didion. Two of the foremost writers of the “new journalism” movement explore the counterculture of the 1960’s.
Sept. 6 “Confessions of Nat Turner” by William Styron. A Pulitzer Prize winning look at the 1831 Virginia Slave Revolt through the eyes of Nat Turner.
Oct. 4 “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clarke. Introduced many Americans to science fiction and the possibility of rogue computer intelligence. A film of the same name directed by Stanley Kubrick was released almost simultaneously.
Nov. 1 “House Made of Dawn” by N. Scott Momaday. Won the Pulitzer Prize for its exploration of Native American life, beliefs and customs in modern day America. It is considered a breakthrough book for Native American literature.
Dec. 6 “The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Book of Knowledge” by Carlos Castaneda. The first in of series of books exploring the inner mind with the help of hallucinogens and a sorcerer.