Armchair Historians

Robert S. McElvaine, The Times They Were a-Changin,' 1964

August 05, 2022
Armchair Historians
Robert S. McElvaine, The Times They Were a-Changin,' 1964
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Show Notes

In this episode, Anne Marie talks to professor of history and author Robert McElvaine about his latest book, The Times They Were a-Changin': 1964, the Year the Sixties Arrived and the Battle Lines of Today Were Drawn.

1964 is when the sixties truly arrived, from JFK’s assassination in November 1963 It was then that the United States began a radical shift toward a much more inclusive definition of “American,” with a greater degree of equality and a government actively involved in social and economic improvement. It was a radical shift accompanied by a cultural revolution. The same month Bob Dylan released his iconic ballad “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” in January 1964, President Lyndon Johnson announced his War on Poverty.

McCelvaine uncovers 1964’s moment of reckoning, when American identity began to be reimagined, tying those past battles to their legacy today. Throughout, he captures the changing consciousness of the period through its vibrant music, film, literature, and personalities.

McCelvaine is the Elizabeth Chisholm Distinguished Professor of Arts & Letters and Professor of History at Millsaps College. He is the author of seven books, including The Great Depression: America, 1929–1941 and Eve’s Seed: Biology, the Sexes, and the Course of History, and is the editor of three. Among his many honors are the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence and the B. L. C. Wailes Award for national distinction in the field of history. He has served as a historical consultant for several television programs, including the PBS series The Great Depression, and has written more than one hundred articles and opinion pieces in such national publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, the Nation, and Newsweek and has been a guest on about the same number of television and radio programs. He lives in Clinton, Mississippi.

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