From Publishers Weekly
The historian/host of the History Channel's History Center
, Gillion chronicles post-WWII America through the lives of six boomers who represent different strands of baby boom cultureâ"which Gillon asserts has become synonymous with American culture. Four of his subjects have achieved national prominence: Bobby Muller, who founded Vietnam Veterans of America; lawyer and cancer survivor Fran Visco, who became president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition; Marshall Herskovitz, developer of the seminal television series Thirtysomething
; and architect Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, who created the avant-garde Florida community of Seaside. Together with Donny Deutsch, a self-made advertising mogul, and Alberta Wilson, who overcame substance abuse and poverty to become a Christian educator, they provide the focus for a look at the Vietnam War, the women's movement and the attraction of some boomers to fundamentalist religion. What Gillon uniquely accomplishes is to illuminate how pervasive boomer influence continues to be in the 21st century. He touches on iconic events and influencesâ"Catch-22
, Woodstock, the Cold War, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther Kingâ"but he is refreshingly unnostalgic about them. Gillon makes especially interesting points when exploring the continuity from the boomers to Gen X (born between 1965 and 1976) and Gen Y (1977â"1995). His assessment of the boomer is generally favorableâ"boomers did not abandon their core values of self-reliance, entitlement and idealism, but have applied those values to the changing challenges they have faced. The result, he says, is that "we are all boomers now."
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"The Baby Boom would prove to be the single greatest demographic event in American history--more significant, even, than the staggering loss of life during the Civil War," insists this academic and television host, who focuses on those born between 1947 and 1957 rather than 1946 and 1964. He contends that there is a common thread running through this generation that constitutes 29 percent of the population, but at the same time he recognizes the great differences in backgrounds, unique personal crises, conservatives, liberals, political independents, churchgoers, and others. They are today's decision makers in boardrooms and government. To tell the story of this generation, the author profiles six individuals whose experiences reflect the broad themes of the age: television, advertising, religion, architecture, feminism, and the Vietnam War. Harsh reality has had a profound effect on this generation, being raised on expectations of the good life and "having it all." This tale of the boomers who reshaped America is fascinating. Mary WhaleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved