SDS, by Kirkpatrick Sale. New York: Random House. 752 pp.
The rise, fall, and further fall of Students for a Democratic Society during the sixties is more than another melancholy footnote to the failed radical movements in America. While it lasted, as the centerpiece of the New Left in the universities, SDS played a catalytic role—though never a central one—in the resistance to the criminal war in Vietnam, in the civil rights struggle, in the defense of the ghetto poor, and in the attack on the evils of corporate capitalism. This dynamic organization was able to command the support of thousands of students outraged by the garrison society and disenchanted with liberal reform—though in between crises the national leaders floundered and the “masses” of students fell away; the latter were committed to protest and change but not necessarily to SDS’s version of what was to be done....
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