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My Generation: Fifty Years of Sex, Drugs, Rock, Revolution, Glamour, Greed, Valor, Faith, and Silicon Chips Paperback – March 1, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Journalist Gross, author of Model and a long-time chronicler of baby boom culture, has chosen the form of a group biography of 19 "quintessential boomers" to investigate what has made this generation (born, as Gross defines it, between Pearl Harbor Day and the assassination of President Kennedy) tick over the past half century. The book opens with a report from Woodstock '98 and some general reflections on the boomer generation that converged on the muddy fields of the Aquarian Exposition some 30 years earlier. Here, Gross offers this melancholy assessment: "...our generation has proved to be as tragic as it was blessed, as late-blooming as it was prematurely admired, as reckless as it was adventurous, as pitiable as it was enviable." The remainder of the book follows these 19 baby boomers from childhood to maturity. This chronological skin barely manages to hold together the skeleton of the group biography. Individual lives are picked up and dropped so fast that the reader will wish for family charts and a more detailed character list to refer to. The disparate group ranges from Marianne Williamson ("wild child turned spiritual celebrity") to Michael Fuchs ("media maven multimillionaire retiree") and Nina Harley ("red diaper baby turned bisexual feminist porn star"). Some will dispute Gross's assertion that a character sketch of a generation can be achieved by highlighting a score of not-so-average examples. Nonetheless, Gross's bittersweet look at baby boomers and their culture is certain to induce a wave of nostalgia among his peers. Photos. Agent, Ellen Levine. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Baby boomers may be too kaleidoscopic for one book to encapsulate, but Gross takes on the task in this journalistic telling of the lives of a dozen and a half folks born between 1941 and 1963. They include types representative of boomers' activism and enthusiasms: Gross interviewed an acidhead (Tim Scully); a leftist radical (Mark Rudd); a spiritual seeker; a Vietnam vet; rock 'n' roll groupies; one black; a gay activist; a porn actress; and assorted other white guys such as cartoonist Doug Marlette. Their stories will interest readers according to taste. The general interest will be in contrasting their wild-child youths in the 1960s and their mature perch atop the media and entertainment industries, the computer industry, and politics. Some have remained radical, while others have grown conservative. With its tenor of self-celebration rather than self-criticism, Gross' book won't likely engage other generations, but for boomers, it will serve as a catalyst to recall their own strange trips. Gilbert Taylor