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1968

The Year That Rocked the World
Narrated by: Christopher Cazenove
Length: 16 hrs and 16 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, World Affairs
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Summary

In this monumental new book, award-winning author Mark Kurlansky has written his most ambitious work to date: a singular and ultimately definitive look at a pivotal moment in history.

In many ways, this momentous year led us to where we are today. Whether through youth and music, politics and war, economics and the media, Mark Kurlansky shows how 12 volatile months transformed who we were as a people. But above all, he gives a new insight into the underlying causes of the unique historical phenomenon that was the year 1968.

Enjoy Mark Kurlansky's books? Listen to an interview with the author on To the Best of Our Knowlege.
©2004 Mark Kurlansky (P)2004 New Millennium Audio

Critic reviews

"In this highly opinionated and highly readable history, Kurlansky makes a case for why 1968 has lasting relevance in the United States and around the world. Whether you agree or disagree with its points, you'll find it makes for fascinating reading." (Dan Rather, CBS News)

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Eugene
  • Eugene
  • 22-05-04

Don't let this reader near a foreign word

The book is ok - but no better than that. Unfortunately, that's the good news. I could not recommend the audio version because the reader has not bothered to learn the correct pronunciation of words or names in any language other than UK Engish. He mangles American names (and there are many), he mangles Slavic names and words (and there are many), and he kills that most beautiful language of all-French. It's comical to hear him attempt "Ho-Ho-Ho Chi Minh-the NLF is Going to Win!" It seems like quality control really slipped up on this book--the errors aren't even consistent from one part of the book to the next.

24 of 28 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Troyus
  • 19-02-14

Slanted but intensely interesting and well written

This is one of the best books I've listened to in years. Being born in Chicago in the late 1960's I grew up hearing a lot about the Chicago Democratic convention as well as the Prague Spring and, of course, the various civil rights marches and actions. This book did a tremendous and entertaining job of providing the historical background to those events to a depth I had never before heard.

Right at the start of the book the author notes that while he is trying to be as objective as he can it is impossible to write a book without some bias. This shows through quickly as he clearly is a bit starry eyed over the student movements of the time. That said, his bias doesn't get in the way of the facts. For instance, he tells how the various factions in the student movements had different agendas (and sometimes no real agenda).

While normally I would strongly dislike such bias in a book about historical events, in this case it added to the book as it helped show the feelings of the participants in a way a dispassionate voice couldn't hope to.

Overall this is an excellent book for anyone looking to get a better understanding of the events of that era and what led to them.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Kathy
  • Kathy
  • 12-10-11

still very good, even despite narration

What made the experience of listening to 1968 the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the interweaving of the more familiar events in the US with the events in both Western and Eastern Europe - it gave a fresh summary and perspective to a year that's been oft-covered.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Christopher Cazenove?

Rob Shapiro would have been great. The narrator was quite irritating with his mispronunciations.

Any additional comments?

I hesitated to download this one because of the comments about the narrator, but did anyway because the author/story seemed promising. Glad I did - the narrator is rather awful, but the book was still worth it. And if you've listed to

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Patricia Hennessy
  • Patricia Hennessy
  • 07-07-10

Extremely Informative

Excellent book, my only complaint is the naration, should have been an American rather than an Englishman. Many pronounciations were off putting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dale R. Gardner
  • Dale R. Gardner
  • 27-05-05

Interesting, But Flawed

Kurlansky offers a detailed history of a truly pivotal period in American - and World - history with 1968. Many of the events we see today, especially political, (Judicial fillibusters, anyone?) can be traced back to this chaotic period. Unfortunately, the book is - for me, at least - somewhat difficult to follow. Much of the blame must be placed with the narrator. As others have noted, phrasings and pronounciations are often unusual, inconsistent, or just plain wrong. In addition, the reader's voice tends toward an odd - and to my ears - unpleasant articulation that becomes grating. But I also wonder about the structure of the book - in general, events are transcribed chronologically, and we end up hearing about individuals at many different points in time. Perhaps a more thematic approach would have produced an easier to follow presentation.

Bottom Line: You'll learn a lot - but you'll have to work at it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jack
  • 11-08-04

Disappointing

While somewhat interesting to see all that was going on in the world in 1968, the book doesn't hang well together, never seems to get going, then ends abruptly. I was hoping for a lot more detaield history from what seemed like a fairly long book.

And a book with so much American culture needs an American narrator. The many pronuncuation mistakes were distracting.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Joseph
  • 01-10-13

Great Book. Great Narrator, really.

This is a very insightful book about a year in which so many significant events occurred. Events that did not change the world, but in many ways, changed the way the world acts. There are many lessons for today.

Given it’s global scale, Christopher Cazenove, I believe was a great choice for narrator. His work has been criticised here, but I found his performance to be wonderful. Cazenove, a British actor, speaks with his native British accent. Not only did he do a fine job of reading Mark Kurlansky’s marvellous book, but he helped demonstrate that the book was not taking an American view of the world, which I did not believe it did.

One of the lessons from 1968 is that global events are connected, even if those involved don’t realise it. Listening to a book read by someone who pronounces names and words differently than yourself helps connect you to the world.

There are many ways to pronounce “tomato”. There is not a "correct way".

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Douglas
  • 12-06-19

Great read. Very informative.

It took me a while to get into this one but eventually I couldn't turn it off. Kurlansky does a good job of tying all of the different areas of the world together and keeping it fresh in the minds of the listener so that it isn't jarring each time the scene shifts. I was already very familiar with 1968 in America, but there was still much in this that was new to me. As for the rest of the world, those stories were brand new for me and very interesting.

Kurlansky says earlier on that he's not going to be able to be totally unbiased, in part because he lived through the events. This non-objectivity does come out eventually, but it doesn't distract or take anything away from the narrative.

The narrator is perfect.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Amanda Livoti
  • Amanda Livoti
  • 15-08-18

endlessly encompassing

wonderous, insightful, endlessly fascinating. wonderful narrator. loved every second. highly recommended for history fans

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for M. Ross
  • M. Ross
  • 06-08-18

The year everything changed

One of the most pivotal years of the 20th century occurred 50 years ago. This is a great survey of the year that saw Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy assassinated and president LBJ withdrew from his second re-election bid. Highly recommended.