Chicago, History, Politics and Current Events, Reviews

The 1968 Democratic National Convention Revisited

jacket imageThis week’s edition of the Chicago Reader is running an interesting review of Frank Kusch’s Battleground Chicago—an unconventional look at the 1968 ‘police riots’ at the Democratic National Convention. The event has become infamous for the brutality of the police in attempting to control the groups of anti-war protesters demonstrating at the convention. But Kusch’s book goes beyond this stereotypical image using seldom heard accounts of the event from the police’s point of view to arrive at a more nuanced understanding of how and why they acted as they did. The Reader‘s Barry Wightman writes:

Kusch… constructs his narrative from interviews he conducted with 80 former Chicago policemen who were on the street during the convention. These are regular guys who fought in World War II and Korea, lived in the bungalow belt, and found themselves on the fault line during one of the tectonic shifts of the period. And every time one of them is quoted, the story comes alive.…

Read the review from the Reader. Also read an excerpt from the book.