Feature Articles

“Our Nation Had Much Deeper Divisions During the 1970s; We Survived and Moved On” by Peter S. Rush

As published in: (9-10-18) The Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Sacramento Bee, Springfield State Journal-Register and (9-10-18) Arizona Daily Star-Tucson

Today, our country is divided along a number of different fault lines – the primary one being for or against President Donald Trump. And many of the policies of the Trump administration are equally contentious.

But our country had much deeper divisions from 1968 to 1974, when it seemed the country was at war with itself. Yet the “radical movements” of the Woodstock generation shaped where we are today.

The era of race relations exploded in open civil rebellion after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King. Soldiers patrolled the streets of Detroit, Newark and other American cities to restore order.

The war in Vietnam was deeply unpopular and millions of people protested in anti-war marches. When President Richard Nixon ordered the invasion of Cambodia in 1970, the nation exploded in protests.

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Armed National Guard troops killed and wounded unarmed student protesters at Kent State and Jackson State universities. Students across the nation went on strike, closing the university system and many secondary schools.

On the cultural side, the country was divided between the generations. While the anti-war anger helped propel the movement, issues such as marijuana, long hair, women’s lib and social justice were vehemently argued from both sides.

Radical movements – today’s domestic terrorists – such as the Weather Underground took on the government with violence and bombings. New ideas about the environment, a woman’s place in society and social justice for minorities were decried as undermining democracy.

The hippies preached “Give peace a chance” and “All you need is love.” The “establishment” responded with “America, love it or leave it.” There was not a great deal of middle ground, and many a family gathering descended into acrimony. The talk among the young was not about “resistance” – it was about “revolution.”

And of course, there was the president – Richard Nixon – who fed the flames of division for his own political gain.

“Tricky Dick” harnessed the power of the government – the FBI, the justice and police departments to create enemy lists, conduct illegal break-ins, surveillance and harassment. It was all done in the name of “law and order.”

And in 1972, Nixon won a landslide election, guaranteeing four more years of upheaval. But the country did not come apart. Watergate happened and our government’s checks and balances worked.

If you look back at the radical ideas of the late 1960s that divided our nation, many of them have become mainstream today. The country moved on.

Our country may be divided right now, but what we can learn from this particular history lesson is that there is hope for the future.

Reviews

“A deftly crafted and inherently engaging read from cover to cover, Wild World is an extraordinary and impressively entertaining read from beginning to end — and showcases author Peter S. Rush as having a genuine flair for originality.” —Midwest Book Review

“Author Peter Rush vividly recreates those times and faithfully captures the mood on campuses around the country during those tumultuous years of protest against the Vietnam War.” “Wild World is a crime novel, a love story and a mystery all rolled into one… well written and keeps your attention.” —Peace Corps Journal 

“(Wild World) is so very pertinent to our time that reading it brings into sharp focus those flaws in our present political condition: change is not only possible, but inevitable. Peter Rush is a sensitive and powerful writer whose future in American literature seems secure with the publication of this debut novel.” —San Francisco Review of Books

“An intricate and captivating read throughout…. with the kind of narrative twists that prove wholly addictive…Wild World proves an extraordinarily powerful debut from Peter Rush.” —BookViral

“A riveting exploration of one man trying to change a corrupt system from within… Rush’s agile writing is impressive.” —Clarion Review

“This is a well-written novel, one rich in period detail and dramatically dynamic.” —Blue Ink Review

“A fascinating read… Interspersed with vivid snapshots of the political, cultural, and social climate, the novel captures the zeitgeist of the 1970s with absolute candor and exhaustive detail.” —Brown Daily Herald

“Set in the volatile days of the early 1970s, this superbly-written work is an absorbing story of youthful ambition tempered by real life.” —The BookLife Prize

“Though Wild World is set in the ‘70s, it brings to light parallels between that era’s cultural and political climate and today’s tempestuous climate… Rush’s greatest strength as a writer is his celerity. He is able to transition from scene to scene swiftly, propelling the plot forward at a rapid rate.” —Wiki Lit

“The strength of Wild World is its focus, Steve is unflinching and nearly Job-like as he maneuvers not to just take down the corrupt but raise up the incorruptible.” —Misanthropester

“Wild World is a well written novel with outstanding character development. Rush has done his research which shows within the pages of this story of strength and courage.” —Lovely Loveday

“A complex and assured debut with a compelling storyline.” —Auntie M Writes

“Wild World takes us inside the Vietnam era on campus, and the author captures it perfectly. The devastating effects to the innocent are all here, especially upon those who try to set things to right.” —Mary Ann Tirone-Smith author of Girls of a Tender Age

Interviews

The Westerly Sun talks to Peter Rush about his book signing at the Savoy Bookshop and Café.

Providence Journal talks to Peter Rush about how his own experiences, as well as the music of the 70s, influenced his writing.

No Place Like Long Island gets local with Peter Rush and interviews him in advance of his appearance at Turn of the Corkscrew bookstore.

West of Mars does a one question interview with Peter Rush.

Mentions

Celticlady’s Reviews featured a spotlight of WILD WORLD.

Just Books featured an excerpt from a pivotal moment in WILD WORLD when Steve meets Sergeant Durk, and the direction his life takes changes forever.

What Is That Book About shared an exclusive excerpt from WILD WORLD, where Steve turns to his former professor for help.

Leigh Holland added Wild World to her list of “Books I’d LOVE To Read If I Could Just Find The Time.”

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