The book The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed America discusses the issues and social unrest of 1965 and some important events that occurred in that time. Of course, “Eve of Destruction” was mentioned by the author, James T. Patterson because “‘Eve of Desruction’ was the most popular protest rock song of the year” (Patterson 145). It was an important piece of popular culture that allowed the American youth to unite and create an uproar of aggression.
In Chapter 12, P.F Sloan and Barry McGuire’s song was analyzed on what kind of reaction it stirred up within society. Patterson describes a group of listeners that were “outraged [and] reacted with hostility” (194). In some areas, the song was banned on the radio (Patterson 194). Patterson explains how the fans of the song ignored the public’s unrest and continued to praise the song and McGuire for boldly singing about the current issues in the world that most people tended to ignore at the time. According to Patterson, “‘Eve’ continued to appeal to millions of Americans, especially youth who were angry about racism, worried about nuclear annihilation, and outraged by the escalation in Vietnam” (194). This song grew popular because young listeners could relate to the feelings that the song provoked.
While young college students continued to protest, President Johnson ignored them and “remained dismissive of just about everything that youthful protesters did” (Patterson 195). He did not feel threatened by their attempts to make their aggression known. He had larger matters to worry about, such as the economy, labor strikes, racial violence, and the escalation of the war.
Patterson explains that “Eve of Destruction” was one of the songs in 1965 that helped reveal Americans as “less optimistic about the future than they had been a year earlier” (223). In addition, the song “seemed to certify that a mass movement of American young was upon [the population]” (Patterson 195).
This book has important information on the destruction that seemed to turn America into turmoil of unrest. Patterson writes about President Lyndon B. Johnson’s struggle to hold America together after “the assignation of President John F. Kennedy…[that] still haunted the country” and the “troubles [that] were mounting in Vietnam” (xi). These two discouraging events put the American youth into a state of discontent and protest.
Patterson, James T. The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed America. New York: Basic Books, 2012. Print.