ABOUT THIS BOOK
In 1969, the campus tumult that defined the Sixties reached a flash point at the University of Illinois. Out-of-town radicals preached armed revolution. Students took to the streets and fought police and National Guardsmen. Firebombs were planted in lecture halls while explosions rocked a federal building on one side of town and a recruiting office on the other. Across the state, the powers-that-be expressed shock that such events could take place at Illinois's esteemed, conservative, flagship university—how could it happen here, of all places?
Positioning the events in the context of their time, Michael V. Metz delves into the lives and actions of activists at the center of the drama. A participant himself, Metz draws on interviews, archives, and newspaper records to show a movement born in demands for free speech, inspired by a movement for civil rights, and driven to the edge by a seemingly never-ending war. If the sudden burst of irrational violence baffled parents, administrators, and legislators, it seemed inevitable to students after years of official intransigence and disregard. Metz portrays campus protesters not as angry, militant extremists but as youthful citizens deeply engaged with grave moral issues, embodying the idealism, naiveté, and courage of a minority of a generation.