1968 saw an extraordinary range of protests across much of the western world. Some of these were genuinely revolutionary - around ten million French workers went on strike and the whole state teetered on the brink of collapse. Others were more easily contained, but had profound longer-term implications - terrorist groups, feminist collectives, gay rights activists could all trace important roots to 1968. Bill Clinton and even Tony Blair are, in many ways, the product of that year.
The Long '68 is a striking and original attempt half a century on to show how these events, which in some ways still seem so current, stemmed from histories and societies which are in practice now extraordinarily remote from our own time. The book pursues the story into the 1970s to show both the ever more violent forms of radicalization that stemmed from 1968 and the brutal reaction that brought the era to an end.
Richard Vinen is Professor of History at King's College, London and the author of a number of major books on 20th century Europe. He won the Wolfson Prize for History for his last book, National Service.