Bill Fogel, Cornell ’70
“A very fine and humorous account of Cornell University in the late nineteen-sixties, when the militant radicals, led by the Students for a Democratic Society, were fighting a two-front campaign: subverting the Kennedy-Johnson war in Southeast Asia and supporting black demands for an autonomous College of Afro-American Studies. These were the days when the inmates were most assuredly running the asylum.” Cornell ’70. Read more
If you read about the 1960s as a history of movements and upheaval, you can say to yourself, “We have movements and upheaval, too.” But when you get a first-person account that chronicles the quotidian details of a woman’s daily life, and she juxtaposes them abruptly within the narrative against the headlines of the day—both on and off campus—you experience how innocent these young people were compared to the social changes that were being wrought by drugs, social movements like feminism and black liberation and global politics in the form of the Vietnam War and the wars in the Middle East….Her coda à la Animal House tells you where all these yahoos are today. Hilariously, many of the most self-involved undergrads are in positions of great responsibility today.
It is Harris’ timing that makes her diaries significant. She arrived in 1966 and was at Cornell during the tumult of those yeasty years. While a great deal has been written about the 1969 occupation of Willard Straight Hall, most of what we know details the events from a male perspective, some as published history.
Harris, of course, did not set out to record those startling days, but in the course of keeping track of her life, from 1966 until graduation in 1970, she gives us an interesting view of the greater world in which she found herself. Her diaries are about her classes, about growing up, about the events of the times. I find her entries honest, funny, naïve and wise, and very much of the era. Her diary is about boys, and it is an account of her coming awake politically, socially and sexually.
“Ithaca Diaries is both classic and fresh, an engaging story that will resonate with those who lived through those tumultuous times and those who want to understand them better. …Anita Harris tells a remarkable story that is both unique and universal.”–Jeanne Bracken, Lincoln Review, May 2015).
“I finished your book this morning…couldn’t put it down…real tour
de force…BRAVO!!! Brings back oh so many memories.” Yvette Tenny, Cornell Class of 1967.
“I loved it.” BU Student, Class of 2014.