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1995: The Year the Future Began

W. Joseph Campbell
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    A hinge moment in recent American history, 1995 was an exceptional year. Drawing on interviews, oral histories, memoirs, archival collections, and news reports, W. Joseph Campbell presents a vivid, detail-rich portrait of those memorable twelve months. This book offers fresh interpretations of the decisive moments of 1995, including the emergence of the Internet and the World Wide Web in mainstream American life; the bombing at Oklahoma City, the deadliest attack of domestic terrorism in U.S. history; the sensational "Trial of the Century," at which O.J. Simpson faced charges of double murder; the U.S.-brokered negotiations at Dayton, Ohio, which ended the Bosnian War, Europe’s most vicious conflict since the Nazi era; and the first encounters at the White House between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, a liaison that culminated in a stunning scandal and the spectacle of the president’s impeachment and trial. As Campbell demonstrates in this absorbing chronicle, 1995 was a year of extraordinary events, a watershed at the turn of the millennium. The effects of that pivotal year reverberate still, marking the close of one century and the dawning of another.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95971-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    W. Joseph Campbell
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Introduction to an Improbable Year
    (pp. 1-20)

    Nineteen ninety-five was the inaugural year of the twenty-first century, a clear starting point for contemporary life.

    It was “the year of the Internet,” when the World Wide Web entered mainstream consciousness, when now-familiar mainstays of the digital world such as, eBay, Craigslist, and established their presence online. It was, proclaimed an exuberant newspaper columnist at the time, “the year the Web started changing lives.”¹

    Nineteen ninety-five was marked by a deepening national preoccupation with terrorism. The massive bombing in Oklahoma City killed 168 people, the deadliest act of domestic terror in U.S. history. Within weeks of the...

  7. 1 The Year of the Internet
    (pp. 21-51)

    The novelty days of the World Wide Web tend to be recalled in sharply different ways. One way is to remember them wistfully, as an innocent time when browsing came into fashion, when the still-new Web offered serendipity, mystery, and the whiff of adventure. The prominent technology skeptic Evgeny Morozov gave expression to early-Web nostalgia in a lush essay a few years ago that lamented the passing ofcyber-flânerie, the pleasure of wandering leisurely online without knowing where one would go or what one might find. He wrote that those days of slowly loading Web pages and “the funky buzz...

  8. 2 Terror in the Heartland, and a Wary America
    (pp. 52-78)

    Nineteen ninety-five is never very distant in Oklahoma City. Reminders of the year are not everywhere apparent in the small city steeped in civility and modesty, nor are they openly worn. But not far from the surface, 1995—especially April 19, 1995—is close, inescapably close.

    On that day, the heart of Oklahoma City was ground zero for the deadliest attack of mass terror in twentieth-century America. The attack came at 9:02 that morning, moments after Timothy J. McVeigh, an embittered Army veteran of the Gulf War, eased a twenty-foot Ryder rental truck into a sidewalk cutout at the north...

  9. 3 O.J., DNA, and the "Trial of the Century"
    (pp. 79-102)

    Nineteen ninety-five produced two flashbulb events in America—moments so powerful and memorable that for years afterward people remembered where they were, and what they were doing, when they heard about them.¹ One was the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. The other came on October 3, 1995, when verdicts were announced in the O. J. Simpson double-murder trial in Los Angeles, proceedings that had become so protracted and at times so graphic and repellant that they had spread like a stain across the year.

    A jury of nine African Americans, two whites, and one Latino had, on...

  10. 4 Peace at Dayton and the "Hubris Bubble"
    (pp. 103-129)

    Within an hour on a snowy November morning near Dayton, Ohio, a sure failure in diplomacy¹ swung improbably to breakthrough success. At almost the last moment possible in an extraordinary negotiation that had lasted three weeks and had careened from despair to optimism and back again, a deal came together to end Europe’s deadliest and most vicious war since the time of the Nazis. The agreement at Dayton brought a fragile and uneasy peace to faraway Bosnia and Herzegovina, the theater of nearly four years of grim savagery and, until November 1995, serial diplomatic failure. The deal was brokered by...

  11. 5 Clinton Meets Lewinsky
    (pp. 130-151)

    Until the Dayton peace accords were reached, 1995 had been a mostly lackluster—even forgettable—year for Bill Clinton and his presidency. It was a low-tide kind of year.

    Resurgent Republicans led by Newt Gingrich, the pugnacious speaker of the House of Representatives, had come to power in Washington at the start of 1995, following their sweeping victories in mid-term elections the year before. Once in office, they pressed an ambitious agenda to trim federal spending, lower taxes, reduce government regulation, and balance the budget. Gingrich called it the “Contract with America.”

    By the spring, the tide of power and...

  12. Conclusion: The Long Reach of 1995
    (pp. 152-162)

    Nineteen ninety-five closed the way it began—on a Sunday, with the farewell appearance of a popular newspaper comic.

    The delightfully bizarreFar Side, a single-panel cartoon drawn by the low-profile artist Gary Larson, entered retirement on January 1, 1995, ending a fifteen-year parade of oddities and lighthearted grotesqueries that included talking bears, cows driving cars, and dinosaurs facing extinction from smoking cigarettes. It was half-seriously suggested that Larson decided to give upThe Far Sidebecause it had become more and more “difficult to out-weird the rest of the newspaper.”¹ In an interview before ending the strip, Larson said...

  13. The Timeline of a Watershed Year: 1995
    (pp. 163-182)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 183-250)
  15. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 251-256)
  16. Index
    (pp. 257-274)