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Boomer Nation: The Largest and Richest Generation Ever, and How It Changed America Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 25, 2004
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Needless to say, the people we now call boomers were hardly all alike, and there were all sorts of ties -- ethnic, religious, professional -- that connected them more closely to people in other generations than to people in their own. But Gillon convincingly shows how the demographic realities of the boom shaped the lives of nearly everyone in it, and had a deep-seated cultural impact that was hard to escape. This is a sharp work of history, rigorous in the way it approaches problems but thoroughly entertaining in in its storytelling.
For someone, like myself, from the boomer generation, the people he selected as examples could not have been more different than me or any of the people my age. One fellow sold a business for $270 million. A woman obtained her PhD. Another woman spearheaded a successful campaign for breast cancer. Another fellow has several successful TV shows. I don't know people like that. I don't drink beer with them. They have success in their lives that only 1 in 10,000 people find, maybe more. They are celebrities.
I couldn't relate to real life people he talked about. Sorry, but I couldn't connect the changes in America with what these 4 people did with their lives either.
The people I know, work, pay their bills, worry about raising their children, and how they will get along after they retire. During the last 30 years, the people Gillon didn't talk about, struggled to get a good education, get a good job, keep the job, and hold their marriage together. They are in debt up to their eyeballs. Gillon's characters were building billion dollar businesses, getting PhD's, meeting the President, or having their TV shows on a national network.
Good for them, I am happy for them, but no one I know has any experience living a charmed life these people have.
I hope Gillon makes lots of money and becomes famous, because that is what he admires.
I hope my family loves me, I set a good example in my neighbor hood, and I can help someone along their way.
Different strokes for different folks, as they say.
That's a wonderful idea, if you have the data to back up why you chose who you chose for the anecdotes. Author Gillon was incredibly shallow in presenting hard data to back up why he selected to profile the people he did. Only one couple, two architects whose urban concepts featured "Back to the Future Design," was apparent for why they were there.
The book takes a diverse array of, primarily, easterners and uses biographical sketches to illustrate everything from Vatican II to the women's movement to the lost decade of the 1970s, when America seemed to ignore the fact it had a drug, booze and vision problem.
Why these people were choosen was never clear. They just, frankly, appear. While they represent different themes of the last 50 years, most are extremes. What's lost in the discussion is why there people are better examples of their generation than, say, Bill Clinton, or, for that matter, me!
In summary, the book is well written but poor documentation makes a potentially good book at best mediocre.
Steve Gillon argues that through all of the trials, tribulations and turmoil of the past four decades America in the year 2004 is really a much better place. I would beg to differ. Has the 24 hour/7 day a week economy created by Boomers really enhanced your quality of life? Do we really need to live in houses 4 and 5 times the size of the houses we grew up in? And is it really necessary to shop in a grocery store with 25000 items? I must say that I have to agree with Paul Begala, hardly a conservative Republican, who views Boomers as "the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self aggrandizing generation in American history." But judge for yourself. If you are not already bored with the subject matter you may find this book to be a worthwhile read. If nothing else this is a very well written book.