Fifty years ago students and workers took to the streets of Paris. Chris Harman was both a participant in the events and analysed the movement that nearly turned the world upside down. Here we print extracts from his classic book about the period, The Fire Last Time: 1968 and After, which has been reissued for the anniversary.
Every so often there is a year which casts a spell on a generation. Afterwards simply to mention it brings innumerable images to the minds of many people who lived through it—1968 was such a year.
There are millions of people throughout the world who still feel their lives were changed decisively by what happened in those 12 months. And they are not, as the media presentation today would suggest, just those who were students or hippies.