what is the historical context of the novel, That was then... This is nos, in relation to gangs 

Expert Answers
mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

S.E. Hinton, the writer of That was Then, This is Now, based her second book on actual events she had observed in her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The violence, the gangs, the reactions of the characters to their draft notices for the war in Vietnam, all added to the reality of the story.   The civil rights movement was also happening, adding to the racial tension of society.  The gang historical context is also there.  The book was published in 1971, and gangs were a reality for both the public and the police.  Because the drug culture and hippies were part of the public scene in 1971, gangs were often the drug suppliers.   Because gangs operate more easily in chaos, the scene with the drug pusher saying that M&M was on "a bad trip" on LSD , is accurate in its portrayal of the devastation drugs could cause.  And the suppliers, the runners, the methods of getting drugs, the subculture all were connected to the gangs which began their rise in the early 1960s.