Background for Chicago 10
Chicago 10, the innovative documentary that revisits the tumult of
the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the Chicago 8/7
conspiracy trial of key antiwar activists a year later, opens Friday
in select theaters. The film is directed by Brett Morgen and combines
archival footage of the chaos of August 1968 with animated
reenactments of scenes from the trial. Plus a soundtrack ranging from
Black Sabbath and Steppenwolf to the Beastie Boys and Eminem.
Morgen has been quoted as saying that he "wanted to do the myth of
Chicago rather than the history," and "if you want to know the
history of what happened in Chicago so long ago, then read a book."
Well, we think understanding history is pretty darn important and are
happy to oblige.
Twenty years ago we published the most complete account of the events
surrounding the 1968 DNC, David Farber's Chicago '68. That book is
innovative itself, creating multiple perspectives reflecting both
police and demonstrators. Farber shows the developing plans of the
antiwar movement for protesting the war in Vietnam during the
convention, as the shocks of 1968 shift the groundthe Tet offensive,
President Lyndon Johnson's withdrawal from the re-election race, the
assassination of Martin Luther King and subsequent riots in cities
across the country, and the assassination of Robert Kennedy.
Next month we will release a paperback edition of Battleground
Chicago: The Police and the 1968 Democratic National Convention by
Frank Kusch. Battleground Chicago is essential for understanding what
is completely absent in Chicago 10any insight into the motivations,
thoughts, and feelings of the individual policemen who were enforcing
order on the streets of Chicago. (Or, as Mayor Richard J. Daley
famously misstated it: "the policeman is there to preserve
disorder.") Kusch interviewed eighty former Chicago police officers
who were on the scene and uncovered the other side of the story of '68.
If you want to get a taste of 1968, go see Chicago 10. But if you
want to understand 1968, read a book.