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What Really Happened to the Class of '65 Hardcover – September, 1976

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Inc (T); 1st edition (September 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394400747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394400747
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Ellis on October 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Written in 1975, What Really Happened to the Class of '65 is a compilation of interviews with 30 members of the 1965 graduating class of Palisades High School. Most of those in question grew up in very affluent households and most of them, in the course of their interviews, seem to have an almost astounding ignorance of the fact that their teenage lives were hardly the norm. However, that's not a major problem or concern. Instead, what makes this book interesting is seeing just how much time has changed -- both in the ten years between their graduation and the book's publication and, even more so, in the decades after the book came out. On the whole, everybody in the book represents a certain type -- popular jerk, pretty boy, quarterback, nerd, bully, cheerleader, ect. However, in the course of some remarkably candid interviews, they're all given a chance to establish their own unique, for-the-most-part fairly likeable individual indentities. Reading it made me wonder what was really going on in the heads of those people I knew in high school who I simply assumed were bullies or jocks or cheerleaders or geeks and nothing else? It actually made me want to get in touch with people I barely knew just to find out who they were now.
Most of the interviewees share in common an amazement at how much times had changed between their high school graduation and 1975. All of them, for the most part, are quick to point out that they're now totally different (read: better) people. Most of them, as well, sound like almost stereotypical creatures of '70s -- i.e., the quarterback becomes a bisexual, new age minister, quite a few have made fortunes of their own but still proudly wear their hair long and seem to believe they were personally responsible for ending Viet Nam and forcing Nixon to resign.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I was a member of the Palisades High Class of 1965 (but not an interview subject). Those whose tales are chronicled in this book were my class mates. While it was surprisingly (voyeuristic) interesting to read, ten or fifteen years afterwards, what had happened to Judy, Brock, Mark, Suzanne, Jon, Bill, Lisa, David, and the others that I had known all through Junior and Senior High, these people were hardly typical of our class or of our generation as a whole.
The book should be taken for what it is -- a simple compilation of self-told chronicles provided by a few particularly (and intentionally)selected, well-to-do, West L.A. High School graduates from the mid-60's. That's all. It is not, by any means, a significant or noteworthy representation of an entire generation of young adults coping with and maturing during the "Viet Nam / Drug / Hippie / Sexual Revolution" 1960's and 1970's.
A interesting read. Especially for someone who was a part of the generation and a part of the very class covered. Beyond that...conclude what you wish...but you do so at the peril of selective representation.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kay Lorraine on June 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 1965 Time Magazine did a feature on the graduating class of Palasades High School, one of the most affluent schools in the country. Ten years later, two of the students (both of whom later went on to become famous) went back and interviewed some of their classmates that were featured in the article to see how their lives had gone. What they discover is seldom what they were expecting and, occasionally, downright shocking.

This is an old book but is still relevant in that it points out that nobody really knows what is going on in someone else's life. A drop-dead beauty who was considered too aloof to even attend her prom turned out to be terribly lonely, unable to go to prom because no one asked her -- sure that she would already have a date and reject them. Someone voted most likely to succeed is a drug-addled mess ten years later. And so forth.

Boomers (like me) will probably relate most to this book. I read it when it first came out and I made it required reading for both of my sons when they were teens. I wanted them to understand that you think you think you know how popular or successful or happy someone else is and, in truth, you don't know Jack. To this day, I cut people slack because I don't know what's going on at home or at their jobs and I learned that in this little book. Go figure.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Slokes VINE VOICE on February 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"What Really Happened To The Class Of '65" purports to be a sociological examination of the Baby Boomer generation's road to maturity, but what really is great about it is its candor and vivid accounts of high school life.

The members of the class are a mix of different types recognizable in schools today: The star quarterback, the flirt, the joiner, the outcast, the slut. Of course, within those broad categories are individuals with complications and insecurities their smooth exteriors often hid. Kids work very hard at protecting their inner selves from scrutiny. Fortunately the older versions of these kids are all-too-happy to share the details of their class insecurity, sexual desires, and what they thought of each other.

"I just remember her being sort of a snob, and I could never quite trust her," one female class member says of another. "She would be my friend one day, and the next day everything would change..."

"He was totally sarcastic," goes a recollection of another class member. "I enjoyed his sense of humor, but a lot of people didn't. I know this because people used to ask me how I could stand to go around with him."

You can recognize such characters from your own high school years. I know I can.

I wish the authors did more with the "when they were young" element of the story. There's some recountings of favorite music and when President Kennedy was shot, but not enough. The focus, after various classmates give their snapshot portraits of each subject in turn, is often on what these kids grew into. The quarterback is now a New Age minister. The flirt is now a lesbian. The outcast now lives in Micronesia. Several have been arrested for drugs.
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