Archive for August 22nd, 2013

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1961

Summer’s almost over, so let’s relive it just a little by looking back…. 53 years. In 1961, JFK was still alive, no one had heard of the Beatles (yet), and West Side Story ruled the box office (and Oscar race). Other events you may remember include:

  • The SL-1 at the National Reactor Testing Station near Idaho Falls explodes, killing its three operators (January).
  • Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to orbit in space (April).
  • Construction started on the Berlin Wall (August).

Get a feel for the cultural mood of the country by reading one of these books, New York Times Best Sellers from the week of August 20, 1961:



1. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

3. Mila 18 by Leon Uris

4. The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor

5. The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck

6. The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins

7. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

8. Rembrandt by Gladys Schmitt

9. A Journey to Matecumbe by Robert Lewis Taylor

10. China Court by Rumer Godden

11. A Shooting Star by Wallace Stegner

12. The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

13. Mothers and Daughters by Evan Hunter

14. Hawaii by James Michener

15. The Last of the Just by Andre Schwarz-Bart

16. The Chateau by William Maxwell



1. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer

2. A Nation of Sheep by William J. Lederer

3. The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore H. White

4. Inside Europe Today by John Gunther

5. The New English Bible; New Testament

6. Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell

7. Russia and the West Under Lenin and Stalin by George F. Kennan

8. Life With Women and How to Survive It by Joseph H. Peck

9. My Thirty Years Backstairs at the White House by Lilian Rogers Parks

10. Firsthand Report by Sherman Adams

11. Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall by Gayelord Hauser

12. America — Too Young To Die! by Alex P. De Seversky

13. Lizzie Borden by Edward D. Radin

14. These Ruins Are Inhabited by Muriel Beadle

15. Gifts of Passage by Santha Rama Rau

16. The Spanish Civil War by Hugh Thomas