Year of Triumph and Tragedy


by Thomas Brennan


$19.95 / ISBN-13: 978-1-58790-347-2 / 320 pages  /  paperback  /  5.5” x 8.5”


History / Popular Culture



In the early 1960s America became involved in a brutal, devastating war in Southeast Asia. The war polarized much of the nation and threatened to destabilize America’s influence throughout the globe. The world was introduced to an entirely new kind of sports icon. He was an outspoken, confident young man who vigorously voiced his opinion about the Viet Nam War and racial inequality in America.

 In 1963 President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was brutally gunned down in Dallas, Texas. Two days later his alleged assassin was murdered on live television in front of a shocked nation. Later that same year the Warren Commission Report would be released to the public. Critics blasted the report for its alleged inaccuracies and narrowness of scope.

 The civil rights movement grew increasingly more powerful in the 1960s. The movement was a key factor in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Horrific repercussions would shortly follow, however. Many young, innocent blacks were murdered and its charismatic leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., would be assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

 A rock band from across the ocean would captivate a generation and future generations of young and old alike with its electrifying and unique style of rock and roll music.

  1964 was the year that all these elements began to crystalize and produce the cultural phenomenon that we now know as the 60s.



Thomas Brennan lives with his family in Collingswood, New Jersey. He enjoys reading and writing about important historical milestones. One of his forthcoming books will be about America’s first mega sports hero, the incomparable heavyweight champion, Jack Dempsey.


The reason I wrote 1964: Year of Triumph and Tragedy is because I vividly remember experiencing with awe the exciting events that occurred during that transitional year in American history. As an eleven year old, television played a big part in my life. Television allowed me to experience the excitement of watching the Beatles perform their music live. The first time I ever listened to a fight on the radio was when Cassius Marcellus Clay fought and beat Sonny Liston. From that point on I became a boxing enthusiast and an admirer of the new heavyweight champion. I remember watching Martin Luther King, Jr. speak in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. I was moved by King's passion and sincerity during that historic speech. I began reading more and more about King and the civil rights movement and how our nation began to pay serious attention to the rights of all citizens, not just the majority of Americans. I remember watching the evening news and seeing American soldiers fighting in jungles in a country I had never heard of. Names like Laos and Vietnam became commonplace on the news in 1964. I remember my family and I quietly watching on television the funeral procession for President Kennedy. The following year theories filled the airwaves on who may have killed Kennedy. Over the past several years I came to realize just how unique the year 1964 really is. Because I witnessed through the media all of these events and because I enjoy reading about history, I decided to write a book about topics that mean a lot to me both emotionally and historically.



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