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Posted on August 18th, 2012, by

Tom Brokaw’s 1968 is a History Channel documentary, which describes social, political and cultural events in the United States in the 1960s. Tom Brokaw, being a young journalist and political critic in 1968, presents his view on the events of American history in this year. However, it is necessary to note that this video is more an educational material for students than a real analysis of the history. Brokaw does not make any conclusions and does not predict any future variants of events development. He leaves space for interpretation and own conclusions. It is a perfect model for working with students at History, Sociology, Politics courses, American History, etc. Teachers should be careful because the video has some provocative scenes and be sure to show it only at high school.

The journalist chooses an interesting way to present the material and attract audience’s attention. At first, Brokaw tells a story of his life and experience in the 1960s. The section devoted to the Vietnam War is especially well organized. Brokaw makes interviews with people who participated in this war. For example, he speaks with a couple and gets to know that the husband was a soldier and had his leg amputated and the wife was a nurse and took care of him.

The whole documentary consists of revealing moments and fragments. Showing students meetings and protests at Columbia university and hippies’ signs of protest, the journalist is able to show the audience real emotions, passion and determination that people had at that time. These protests were not artificially created by the politics or some organizations as it often happens in our modern world and it is evident in the video.

After the Vietnam War Brokaw moves to the Civil Right Movement, Kennedy and Martin Luther King’s assassinations, women’s movement for their rights and some other heated social issues. However, it is impossible to cover such serious and painful topics in just 90 minutes. Brokaw makes rather an overview of the leading events of that time, not analyzing them.

The video is constructed in an attractive way: firstly, it presents interviews with participants or witnesses of the events. Among these people we see both usual and popular people. Brokaw interviews a number of famous personalities, such as Bruce Springsteen, Arlo Guthrie, Lewis Black, Michelle Phillips, Rafer Johnson and some others. Johnson, for example, confesses that he has left sport and medals of the Olympic Games in order to work for Robert F. Kennedy. Secondly, the journalist takes us to the most remarkable places of the States connected with these events. It makes a great impression and arises the audience’s interest to the documentary. Thirdly, the journalist reminds us about the most meaningful events of this year, giving general information about them. It can of great use in order to refresh our knowledge and pay attention to the details.

To sum up, Tom Brokaw in his documentary 1968 presents a short summary of the main events of that period in the American history. This video may be widely used at high schools and colleges. Brokaw’s idea and ability to present the material is really revealing. However, the video does not have any political, social or economic analysis of the situation. This fact provokes loud discussions among people. On the one hand, such approach leaves space for personal understanding of history fragments, but, on the other side, it presents just a short overview of everyday events.

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