In this volume, Ray Colvig, who headed UC Berkeley’s office of public information for nearly 30 years, provides a definitive account of the people and the politics that shaped the campus during the troubled years of the 1960s. He offers, as well, a unique rendition of the perceptions and interpretations of the media and other outside observers during that period.
Central to Colvig’s compelling narrative is Clark Kerr, who was attacked by both the left and the right, each doing so for their own reasons and each distorting Kerr’s intentions and actions. Colvig lays bare the particulars of that political and personal tragedy.
While the Berkeley faculty and administration took a pragmatic approach to the turmoil, the press was filled with hyperbolic brooding and desperate warnings of the end of the university as it was known. None of the dire predictions came true; the university, of course, survived; and the Free Speech Movement, airbrushed of its excesses, has become a major artifact of campus lore. Those who are interested in what really happened can read it here.