In The Age of Great Dreams, what are the historical and political conditions of the Cold War Era?
In a sense, this masterful discussion and focus on the sixties in America manages to highlight the paradoxical nature of this time. On the one hand, this book captures the way in which this decade gave rise to a great increase in wealth, power and self-righteousness through the liberalism and the great vision of improvment brought forward by key political players such as JFK and Martin Luther. This was, after all, the decade in which Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and showed the world US dominance through this simple and yet so significant act.
In the same way, Farber demonstrates how these dreams of utopia and making the world a better place was coupled with images that sharply contradicted such notions. For example, images of burning cities, unarmed and passive protesters being savageley beaten, and most poignantly, in an image that seems to sum up the decade, a naked young Vietnamese girl with burns from napalm.
Farber's focus and dissection on both of these contradictory elements helps explore the varying social factors that made up this fascinating decade.