The author of this immensely informative work is Editor of the New Criterion and he explores the ways in which key "seductive personalities" changed America in the sixties. The "long march through the institutions" was a slogan coined by a student activist in the sixties, a follower of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, and refers to revolution through the infiltration of institutions, a cultural revolution from within. It has, admits the author, been highly effective.
Let us reflect on what is happening today: abortion up to birth, the destruction of marriage and family life, gender re-definition etc. How did all this come about and why did the traditional institutions collapse so quickly? The author argues that well before the sixties, the ground had been prepared. Alfred Kinsey wrote his malevolent works on sexuality in the fifties. But they were put into effect in the sixties. Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs of Naked Lunch fame and Allen Ginsberg were pushing their radical notions in the fifties. But they came to fruition in the sixties. The "Beats" promoted "madness, drug abuse, criminality and excess" well before the sixties. The hippies of the sixties were much more than peace loving folk: they were purveyors of drugs and decadence. No wonder their nihilistic philosophy led to the madness of Manson and the radical revolutionary activities of Eldridge Cleaver, who is granted a chapter.
The author is unafraid to name some of the key players behind the sixties cultural revolution: Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag, Timothy Leary and Charles Reich of The Greening of America fame. Mailer, for example, celebrated violence as a social necessity in an essay in 1957. And we also have Herbert Marcuse and the Frankfurt School. Marcuse and his synthesis of Marxism and Freudianism is given several pages.
It is quite extraordinary to read Kimball's account of how the universities were radicalized in the name of free speech back in the sixties. Now that the radicals are effectively running them, free speech is no more: no more pro-life conversations, no more promoting traditional marriage and gender differences. The universities are bourgeois now and they were bourgeois then because the radicals turn out to be largely bourgeois. The revolutionary rock stars of yester year are some of the key establishment figures today: Sir Elton, Sir Paul and Sir Mick. They are enormously influential and very rich. Who is David and who is Goliath when it comes to the confrontation between Bruce Springsteen and North Carolina? The cultural revolution is "of the privileged, by the privileged and for the privileged." President Obama has done them wonders. Has he helped poor families anywhere as much? Little wonder then that so many ordinary Americans have ended up supporting Mr Trump.
The author has given us the symptoms and the cause. He does not supply the remedy, although it is hinted at. As we read about the occult undertones of the cultural revolution, we cannot help but recall the "diabolical disorientation" that Our Lady warned us of at Fatima. The only realistic remedy is a supernatural one.
As I write this review, it appears that the most powerful person in the world soon is likely to be called either Donald or Hillary. Either way, it is not good news for Christians. This book helps explain how we got into this mess.