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West Germany and the Global Sixties
The Anti-Authoritarian Revolt, 1962–1978


Part of New Studies in European History

  • Date Published: May 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107519251

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About the Authors
  • The anti-authoritarian revolt of the 1960s and 1970s was a watershed in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany. The rebellion of the so-called '68ers' - against cultural conformity and the ideological imperatives of the Cold War, against the American war in Vietnam, and in favor of a more open accounting for the crimes of the Nazi era - helped to inspire a dialogue on democratization with profound effects on German society. Timothy Scott Brown examines the unique synthesis of globalizing influences on West Germany to reveal how the presence of Third World students, imported pop culture from America and England, and the influence of new political doctrines worldwide all helped to precipitate the revolt. The book explains how the events in West Germany grew out of a new interplay of radical politics and popular culture, even as they drew on principles of direct-democracy, self-organization and self-determination, all still highly relevant in the present day.

    • Provides a total picture of the West German '1968', looking beyond student radicalism to counterculture and the arts
    • Places West German events in a transnational and global context as never before, offering new ways of thinking about the global 1960s
    • Considers influential cultural phenomena such as European avant-garde movements, rock and roll, fashion, the sexual revolution and politics of sex, and radical film, literature and art
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'As the West German '1968' finally becomes claimed for history, many fresh perspectives come into play. In Tim Brown's excitingly original account, the unruly, boundary-crossing complexities of anti-authoritarianism appear in [a] refreshingly new light. West Germany and the Global Sixties brings the rhetoric of transnational history compellingly down to the ground.' Geoff Eley, University of Michigan

    'With impressive analytical depth and comprehensiveness, Brown's insightful book situates West Germany's 1968 in an enormously rich tapestry of transnational connections, utopian visions, and cultural and political transformations spanning almost two decades. Vividly capturing the hopes and tensions of the period, this landmark study of the sixties will be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the significance of 1960s/70s grassroots politics for German history and the global Cold War.' Martin Klimke, New York University, Abu Dhabi

    'All politics is local, as Timothy Brown proves, transcending stale debates to deliver new complexity and fresh perspective on the 'global '60s', as this played out within the borders of West Germany. An absorbing story, well told.' Belinda Davis, Rutgers University

    '… a major contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the '60s. It fills a sizeable gap by providing, in English, a detailed account of the origins, motivations, mindsets and achievements of the West German 'active transnationals' who set out to change the world. Brown's central argument is persuasive: skilfully interlocking the local and the global within cold war, third world, and generational narratives, as well as radical political and countercultural affinities, he is able to delineate complex patterns of influence and metamorphoses along vectors of space, time, sound, vision, word, power, sex and death. What makes the book stand out is the sheer depth to which Brown analyses the political, social and cultural impact of the West German anti-authoritarian revolt upon all who came in contact with it. A tour de force in its inclusiveness, and a triumph of deeply reflective scholarship.' Ingo Cornils, University of Leeds

    'This is a brilliant book, including the whole range of events and developments, political as well as cultural, that altogether shaped what today is known as '1968'. Thoroughly researched, Tim Brown's book masterfully overlooks the coincidence of circumstances that changed West German society so fundamentally in the 'Global Sixties'.' Detlef Siegfried, University of Copenhagen

    'Brown's excellent and in many ways path-breaking West Germany and the Global Sixties is the synthesis we have been waiting for. In a book that is analytically rigorous and theoretically versatile, yet soundly grounded in primary materials, including rarely used collections and 'grey literature', Brown pushes the boundaries of the existing interpretations forward significantly.' Holger Nehring, European History Quarterly

    'In West Germany and the Global Sixties: The Anti-Authoritarian Revolt, 1962–1978, Timothy Scott Brown has given scholars studying the period a great gift: a masterful synthesis of swirling currents of rebellion placed in a groundbreaking conceptual frame. Exhaustively researched and elegantly argued, the book functions both as a comprehensive account of a major swath of postwar history and a provocative rethinking of the terms in which scholars have represented it.' Jeremy Varon, The American Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107519251
    • length: 408 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 42 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Space
    2. Time
    3. Word
    4. Sound
    5. Vision
    6. Power
    7. Sex
    8. Death

  • Author

    Timothy Scott Brown, Northeastern University, Boston
    Timothy Scott Brown is Associate Professor of History at Northeastern University. He is the author of Weimar Radicals: Nazis and Communists between Authenticity and Performance (2009) and co-editor of Between the Avantgarde and the Everyday: Subversive Politics in Europe, 1957 to the Present (with Lorena Anton, 2011).

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