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What books do you recommend to read about the history of May 68?

+3 votes
I'm looking for history books that detail as wide of scope as possible about the events of May 68 in France.

Histories of the Situationists and how they engaged with the uprisings would be nice.

Also feel free to recommend books about revolts occurring in 1968 elsewhere around the world.


edited to fix tags
asked Oct 20, 2014 by flip (3,980 points)
edited Oct 21, 2014 by flip


The libertarian communist author who wrote under the name Maurice Brinton has an eyewitness account  that is included in the AK title For Workers' Power edit: I just revisited For Workers' Power, and it has three articles on France in '68, one of which is a review of the book Obsolete Communism: The Left-Wing Alternative https://libcom.org/files/Obsolete%20Communism%20-%20The%20left-wing%20alternative%20-%20Daniel%20Cohn-Bendit%20&%20Gabriel%20Cohn-Bendit.pdf by Daniel and Gabriel Cohn-Bendit. I've never read Obsolete Communism, but Daniel Cohn-Bendit is now some sort of European politician. The first-hand account I recalled was of a strike in Belgium, 1960. Sorry this corrective comes so long after the original comment.

Ken Knabb's collection Situationist International Anthology includes documents from the period as well. Fredy Perlman was there, and (maybe?) wrote about it, but I've never read that....

Also, Bookchin wrote a bit about it, I think it is in Anarchism, Marxism, and the Future of the Left, I read it a long time ago, I don't recall what I thought of it (nor would I have had any historic context to juxtapose it to).

Hope these are helpful starts!

there's a pamphlet (only a pamphlet though) by r. gregoire and perlman called worker-student action committees that is about may 68. i should read it. :)
i like this question, have wondered about the history of france 68' as well

2 Answers

+1 vote
I highly recommend "May '68 and its Afterlives" by Kristin Ross.

another thing you might check out, although it isn't a book, is Chris Marker's film, 'Le Fond de l'Air Est Rouge' (trans., weirdly, as 'A Grin Without a Cat'). it has a very wide scope...

and, if you read French, I liked the parts of this that I read: Mai 1968: la Brèche, premières réflexions sur les événements --> http://www.worldcat.org/title/mai-1968-la-breche-premieres-reflexions-sur-les-evenements/oclc/4209836

There's some good stuff by McKenzie Wark on the situationists, e.g. "The Beach Beneath the Street."
answered Oct 22, 2014 by asker (7,720 points)
edited Jun 19, 2015 by asker
+1 vote
Enrages and Situationists in the Occupation Movement, France, May '68 by Rene Vienet (Autonomedia)

The Beginning of the End by Angelo Quattrocchi (Verso)

Aside from the pamphlet dot recommends, these two are the best radical histories I've read.
answered Oct 22, 2014 by lawrence (13,560 points)
it would be great if both you and asker could say a bit about what is good about the titles you're recommending?
Both were present during the events, Vienet was in the SI and Quattrocchi a life-long anarchist. How's that?
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