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1959: The Year Everything Changed – AARP Radio Skip to content

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1959: The Year Everything Changed

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Fred Kaplan says the world as we know it was actually born in 1959, a game-changing year that ushered in a wave of cataclysmic shifts in politics, music, art, literature, journalism, science, society, sex: just about everything.

And yet, 1959 has never been given the attention of years like 1968 or 1969.

In his latest work1959: The Year Everything Changed,Kaplan recounts many of the pivotal events that occurred in one magnificent year: from the birth of contraceptives to the launch of the first unmanned rocket to the moon. Listen to Kaplan talk with Mike Cuthbert, and then tell us what you were doing in 1959.


  • JAZZ: Read more about jazz in 1959 at
  • POLITICS: The story of the kitchen debate between Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev and U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon at Politico
  • LITERATURE: William Burroughs Naked Lunch

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