Theodore Roszak was born on November 15, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois. He studied at the University of California, Los Angeles, and received a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University. Roszak spent most of his career teaching at several colleges, including Stanford, San Francisco State University, the University of British Columbia, and California State University at East Bay. Roszak spent his formidable years living in London. He observed the social changes occurring in the youth population in London during the 1960’s and gave an accounting of how this compared to the American hippies of the same era in his hugely successful book, The Making of a Counter Culture. An avid writer, Roszak also contributed to a publication in London that advocated pacifism called Peace News. He wrote fiction and non-fiction throughout his long career, and used his writing to share his theories on ecopsychology and behaviorism. Some of his other works include:
His fictional works include:
Contribution to Psychology
Roszak was known as an expert on cultural behavior and focused much of his attention on the rebellious youth that came of age during the 1960’s. It was weeks after the historical music festival Woodstock that Roszak published his first book. The description of counterculture--a term that described the revolutionary attitude of the young people at the time--catapulted Roszak into mainstream popularity. In his book, Roszack offered an analysis of the hippie movement, which he believed was an attempt for under-stimulated youth to find religious, social, and spiritual meaning in hallucinogenics, false icons, and cult leaders.
Roszack believed that the science-based society that existed at the time prompted the counterculture of the time and led to the vision of a new social norm. The civil rights movement, Vietnam War, and sexual liberation provided an opportunity for the young generation to seize a cause and arm themselves with entrenched issues and enhanced arguments. Shortly after the publication of his first book, Roszack wrote Where the Wasteland Ends: Politics and Transcendence in Postindustrial Society. Both books were embraced by the youth generation and scholars alike, and were contenders for the National Book Award.
Roszak followed the behaviors of the baby boomer generation and continued to write for and about them and their challenges, attitudes, and cultural behavior throughout their emergence into and through adulthood. When the first wave of boomers turned fifty, Roszack released another book documenting the milestone. He continued to write several other books relative to the lives of this countercultural generation. He believed that as the boomers aged, the idealistic attitudes they developed in their youth and maintained throughout their lives would continue to inspire others.