Impact

Excepts from The Strawberry Statement appeared in New York magazine (1968) and The Atlantic Monthly (1969) before the entire work was published by Random House in 1969. Reviews of the book were generally favorable: The Saturday Review found Kunen “sane, level-headed, perceptive, thoughtful,” and the New Republic regarded the author as a reliable representative of his generation. Although Kunen’s criticisms of American materialism, conformity, and the Vietnam War might have put him at odds with the mainstream press, his wit, general skepticism, and reluctance to become an armed revolutionary gained a sympathetic hearing from what he would have regarded as the establishment. However, these latter qualities prevented his book from being widely accepted by the radical Left, which was becoming increasingly ideological and prone to violence. Within two years of its publication, the book was translated into Japanese, German, Swedish, and French, languages of countries that also had significant leftist student movements. In 1995, it was reprinted in the United States, primarily for use in college classes. Ultimately, The Strawberry Statement is more significant as an expression of the youth rebellion of the late 1960’s than as a work having significant influence of its own.

Related Work

The Strawberry Statement (1970), directed by Stuart Hagmann, is a dramatization of the book.

Additional Information

Other student perspectives on the Columbia University protests appear in Up Against the Ivory Wall: A History of the Columbia Crisis (1968), edited by Jerry L. Avorn.