Few events during that whirlwind of movements, conflicts and upheaval known as "the sixties" took Americans more by surprise, or were more likely to inspire their rage, than the rebellion of those who were young, white, and college educated. Perhaps none have been more maligned or misunderstood since. In A Fiction of the Past, Dominick Cavallo pushes past the contemporary fog of myth, cold disdain and warm nostalgia that shrouds the radical youth culture of the '60s. He explores how the furiously chaotic sixties sprang from the comparatively placid forties and fifties. The book digs beyond the post-World War II decades and seeks the historical sources of the youth culture in the distant American past. Cavallo shows how the sixties' most radical ideas and values were deeply etched in the American soul.