Title: Great Neck
Author: Jay Cantor
Describes a group of friends, black and white, growing up radical amid the turbulence of the sixties and seventies, following them from their 1960 sixth-grade class in Great Neck to their involvement in civil rights and peace movements..
From the much-praised author of Krazy Kat and The Death of Che Guevara, the tumultuous story of a group of friends growing up idealistic, radical, and romantic in the sixties and seventies.
We enter their lives in 1960 as a sixth-grade class of Great Neck kids—most of them Jewish—learns for the first time, in horrifying detail, about the Holocaust, with its moral imperative to “make justice” in the world. When the older brother of one of the students is murdered in Mississippi during Freedom Summer, they think they have found their mission, and when they receive letters from him seemingly written after his death, a heady mystical dimension is added that impels them into the civil rights and peace movements, joining their lives to a multitude of others.
Among the huge cast of characters: a boy-genius comic-book artist, who transforms their gang into Superheroes. The lovely long-legged sister of the boy who was murdered and the brilliant kid brother of the black activist killed with him. The gay son of a wealthy art collector, who introduces his friends
to the wild and sometimes dangerous New York art scene. The beautiful daughter of a Holocaust survivor, who joins the ultraradical Weathermen; the quantum physics whiz and Christian mystic who becomes her bomb-maker; and a Black Power leader, who will accompany her and others into their last and most extreme act.
Great Neck brings us inside privileged Long Island childhoods and into the churches and juke joints
and jails of Mississippi, into underground meetings and protest marches fueled by a potent mix of sex, politics, and drugs. It reminds us of the optimism, courage, and dangerous dreams of a generation who sometimes seemed to think they must be superheroes. Above all, Great Neck is the compelling portrait of complex, appealing young men and women shaping and being shaped by the momentous events of their time.