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Boom!: Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today Hardcover – November 6, 2007

3.9 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There's less heroism in Brokaw's profiles of the baby boom cohort than there was in his salute to The Greatest Generation, but there's still plenty of drama. Almost everyone the author interviews (famous boomers like Arlo Guthrie, Hillary Clinton and Karl Rove along with many unsung contemporaries) describes a personal journey through the upheavals of the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, women's liberation, the counterculture, the rise of the New Left or the birth of the New Right. Callow students became radicalized, restless housewives forged careers, musicians spiraled into addiction, disgusted erstwhile liberals trekked rightward, everyone—except Dick Cheney, Brokaw mentions—questioned authority. Unlike Brokaw's celebratory and elegiac previous book, this one is steeped in retrospective ambivalence; conservatives look back on the era with disdain, and even unreconstructed lefties feel misgivings about its excesses. As an NBC correspondent, Brokaw was a keen (if careful nonparticipant) observer of the '60s and contributes his own neutral but engaging gloss on developments, along with personal recollections of everyone from Bobby Kennedy to Hunter S. Thompson. He may not always know what to make of it all, but Brokaw's profiles do convey the decade's diverse experiences, its roiling energies and its centrality in the making of modern America. Photos.
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About the Author

Tom Brokaw is the author of four bestsellers: The Greatest Generation, The Greatest Generation Speaks, An Album of Memories, and A Long Way from Home. From 1976 to 1981 he anchored Today on NBC. He was the sole anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw from 1983 to 2004.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (November 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400064570
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400064571
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #859,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kcorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 17, 2007
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm writing this in the wake of an online chat with Brokaw where he was kind enough to answer some of my questions as well as those of other participants there. It was one short hour which simply flew by!.

Although I had the book in "traditional" form already, I got the Kindle version as well so I could share it with others tomorrow, along with the chat itself (I'd name the site but I don't know if that is allowed here)

As I already knew -but Brokaw reiterated in the chat - the book was a type of "virtual reunion" of people who'd lived through the Sixties and were open to revealing their thoughts and changes forty years after those pivotal years.

The book is aptly titled Boom! because there were true shock waves as major changes rippled quickly - and sometimes tore- through our culture. Brokaw focused on major areas such as feminism and the women's movement,politics (including the Democratic identity crisis), Vietnam, race relations and racism, assassinations, etc.

The famous, infamous and anonymous are interviewed or lend their voices to this book, making it more accessible, not at all dry and very lively. Brokaw noted that he wished he could have covered such topics as the Evangelical movement and the changes in journalism so if you get this book, please be aware that HE is aware of what was not covered. I think that including more areas might have watered down the book so I think this was a wise choice.
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Format: Hardcover
Right off let me say that if you missed the sixties, this book is still something you'll want to read. If, like myself, you came of age during that decade you will also find Boom more that worth the time to read.

Brokaw has a way of condensing the ideas he's trying to get the reader to engage. I found The Greatest Generation terribly revealing about my parent's generation. I suspect those born during the sixties and after will also find Boom's content interesting.

I was also impressed with the famous who agreed to be interviewed for this work. I have heard the following quip, "If you can remember the sixties you didn't experience it." Well, clearly for those Brokaw interviewed that isn't true.

Boom is logically organized and intelligently written. You can tell that Brokaw loves doing research and loves his subject.

The hogwash about how much money Brokaw has made and whether this effects his objectivity toward Cheney and others is a distraction. No one has ever challenged Brokaw's professionalism because he earns a lot of money. For some reason, being financially successful is a kiss of death in some individuals eyes.

Boom is a wonderful look at a time that truly is a defining era. There is America before the sixties and the America after the sixties and they aren't the same place. You'll want to read this one slowly and ponder what it says.

Peace from North Carolina
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Format: Hardcover
I am sad to say that I was disappointed By Tom Brokaw's "Boom." It is a long, ponderous, 611 page trip down memory lane to a virtual reunion of men and women who came of age in the '60s, and who offer a mishmash of views regarding their lives and times, then and now.

Some of their stories and recollections ring more credibly than others, but there is too little analysis from these personal accounts, especially by Brokaw, who wonders continually about the meaning of the riddle of the 60's, but provides no personal conclusions despite his ringside seat to the events, and all that has happened since. I was clearly expecting more.

Here's an example of what I mean. For all their magnificent accomplishments, the so called "greatest generation," were also the parents of the baby boomers. How, in fewer than 20 years, did their collective sense of duty, honor and patriotism diminish so greatly into a National epidemic of sex, drugs, rock and roll and lack of personal accountability among the Boomers? Were the WWII heroes great at taking orders and making war but not so good at parenting, or openly communicating with their children? Does this make the "greatest generation" less great? Brokaw's thesis could/should have begun there. What changed in the culture, and when did it happen, or why so suddenly?

I am saying this as a card carrying member of the baby boom generation - born in 1947, graduated from college in 1969, and, like so many other millions of my generation, an eye witness to all that went on then and since.

Just consider for a moment that the 60's began with the inauguration of John Kennedy, not his assassination as Brokaw contends. JFK's famous "Ask not what your country can do for you ...
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Format: Hardcover
I am reading Boom and am enjoying it immensely. As a former classmate of Tom and his wife Meredith at the University of South Dakota, I recognize many of the names that he mentions from this era, especially the mention of Gene Kimmel and his wife Mary Lou, for I knew them well. The juxtaposition of the rich and famous with ordinary people is a testimony to Brokaw's writing skills and I suspect that if researchers did some of the work for him, in the final analysis, he was his own superb editor.

One fact that needs correction, however, is that Tom was part of the Boomer generation. He was pre-boomer, and thus had part of his sensibilities in the Greatest Generation era. However his work put him right in the center of the enormous changes that occurred in the 60s, both good and bad. His understanding of both eras is important and undoubtedly helped him write this book.

Tom's unique perspectives make Boom an important contribution to the literature about the '60. He has consistently taken his responsibilities seriously, in the tradition of Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, and other great broadcast journalists and continues to do so with his books. Keep up the good work. Highly recommended.
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