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David Halberstam's the Fifties

1 rating: 5.0
Music Video & Concerts and Television movie directed by Alex Gibney, Susan Motamed, and Tracy Dahlby

The 1950s are fast becoming what the 1960s were not all that long ago. Which is to say that the era that set the stage for the obviously upheaval-heavy '60s is getting its own undressing, and the interlocutors are finding all sorts of fascinating stuff. … see full wiki

Tags: Movies
Genre: Television, Music, Musical
1 review about David Halberstam's the Fifties

The raw appearance of a decade known for proper appearances

  • Apr 17, 2002
To many, the sixties cannot be mentioned without prefacing it with the adjective turbulent. However, as can be seen from this tape, in the fifties, the turbulence was there, just subterranean and pressing hard towards the surface. Quite frankly, I do not understand how anyone could be nostalgic for that decade. You see in detail the paranoia against communism milked so well by Joe McCarthy, the incredible hatred blacks faced and how people were so dissatisfied in an era of unprecedented prosperity.
Without a doubt the most moving segments dealt with the civil rights movement in the south and the integration of the schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. No one can look on those scenes of federal troops protecting black high school students from ferocious whites and not appreciate the fact that our society has moved so far beyond that. While saddened, I was proud that there were people in our nation who were willing to do whatever it took to enforce the federal laws under the constitution.
In a point surprising to me, the other segments that moved me most were the ones about the development and testing of the hydrogen bomb. As a weapon, it has no use other than to destroy cities and the scenes of shock waves from detonations would scare the creator herself. It really makes one understand how dangerous those times were.
There were certainly events in the fifties that are not covered in this tape. However, in it, you see all the rawness of the decade, even though so much of it is wrapped in flannel suits and restrictive social mores. It really was a time of difficult but essential change.

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