Ada Feyerick

THE SIXTIES: AN AMERICAN FAMILY IN EUROPE

For all of us who lived through this decade, the book is a wonderful reminder of an amazing time. But Ada Feyerick goes way beyond nostalgia by bringing us a new and very personal perspective. This is living history. For that I am grateful.
–Wolf Blitzer, CNN Anchor, The Situation Room


The Sixties is a reminder of a decade that many believe was a turning point for America. It is a view of events seen from overseas by the author, formerly a history-archaeology editor of Horizon Magazine,who lived in neutral Zurich and then in Neuilly-sur-Seine, the nearest suburb to politically involved Paris. For those who remember that time, or were too young to remember, events are recalled as one of the most violent decades in our history. They include the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the assassination of president John Kennedy and others, the tragedy of the Vietnam War, and the cause of civil rights. Astronauts conquering space was our triumph. Simultaneous events in Europe show the mutual impact each had on the other.

Much to the disappointment of President Lyndon Johnson, America's chief antagonist in its fight against the spread of communism was its former World War II ally, French president Charles de Gaulle, as he sought detente with Russia and recognized Red China in the ongoing cold war atmosphere. It reflected his determination to regain France's influence as a political player after being occupied by Nazi Germany for four years. One such area of importance was the Middle East. In 1967, de Gaulle reached out to the Arab states when the war with Israel broke out, thereby achieving French access to the region's rich oil reserves.

On the domestic scene, American college students were rebelling against the military draft. In France, university students demanded improved conditions at the Sorbonne and staged widespread riots on the Left Bank that almost brought down the Gaullist government. An Epilogue compares events of the 1960s to the present, such as the Vietnam War and our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan some forty years later, often called "unnecessary wars," or "wars of choice."

Intertwined with events is the author's personal story of adjusting to foreign cultures; having, raising, and educating her children abroad and getting to know the people on their own terms. As for the children, their world expanded, friendships were made with classmates who spoke a different language, while they were becoming bilingual in their own, uninhibited way. French and American teaching methods are duly noted.

The book's cover is a rare drawing by Al Hirschfeld, depicting world leaders of the decade. Illustrations consist of the best of international, political cartoons, chosen from the U.S., England, France, and Lebanon. Scenes of the resident cities are shown in color.

Do we ever learn from the past? Were the sixties America's turning point?
This memoir confronts the questions.

Selected Works

Historical memoir
A view from overseas of foreign and domestic events during the watershed 1960s that still have an impact today.
History – archaeology
How the traditions of the ancient Near East influenced the first book of the Bible