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Recollections: A Baby Boomer's Memories of the Fabulous Fifties by [Chambers, Jim]
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Recollections: A Baby Boomer's Memories of the Fabulous Fifties Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Length: 144 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 379 KB
  • Print Length: 144 pages
  • Publication Date: July 12, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002H9XTWI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,870 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Author James R. Chambers chose familiar territory to trumpet his arrival to the literary scene, and a welcome arrival it is. Recollections: A Baby Boomer's Memories of The Fabulous Fifties is a wonderfully cohesive soundtrack and love letter to a bygone era. But don't let the title mislead you. Recollections is not a memoir; nor is it a history lesson. It is, rather, a lovingly honest portrait of America in the mid-20th Century.

Mr. Chambers has opened a time capsule, of sorts, that is as fresh and innocent today as it was in 1955. He allows the rest of us to be a fly on the wall as he strolls through a simpler time, when war was a cataclysmic explosion in history rather than a generational inheritance. A world where the children all rushed to Christmas trees that hovered over Hula Hoops and Frisbees, Erector Sets, Davy Crockett slippers. We were first turned on to science by Mr. Wizard, or our first microscope. It's all here, neatly folded and pressed.

As a fellow Baby Boomer, this book visits the street where I lived. Chambers writes about kids and school, arts and entertainment, shopping, politics, culture and the foods of the 1950's. The book is sometimes very funny, like when Chambers recalls that his school didn't need the armed security guards and metal detectors of today "because our enemies were already inside the school - the principal and the teachers." From scene to scene, I found myself caught up in images that Norman Rockwell could have painted. But Chambers uses his "canvas" as a window, as well as a mirror.

He allows for the real struggle, confusion and fear of the times. What child was not made to feel tiny in the Cold War era of bomb shelters and Apocalyptic threats?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I, too, am a Baby Boomer; though a few years younger than the author of "Recollections." We share many of the same memories, as I was constantly nodding vigorously and crying, "Yes, yes" as I took this poignant and humorous walk down Memory Lane. Mr. Chambers artfully interweaves interesting historical tidbits with his own recollections of The Fabulous Fifties.

So many words and phrases elicited a reflexive warm-and-fuzzy nostalgic grin -- The Weekly Reader; View Master; filling up your S&H Green Stamp book; Peanut Butter Logs. Even wince-inducing memories -- Cod Liver Oil, anyone? - brought a laugh, due to Mr. Chambers' hilarious description of being subjected to that indignity. At least we could get rid of the foul taste by licking the ice cream off the dasher of the old wooden churn!

"Recollections" perfectly blends paying homage to those little day-to-day rituals with a larger-scale examination of social issues and mores of the times. And it's equally entertaining on either level.

The book is neatly divided into 12 independent chapters, noted above, so for the reader short on time, it would be easy just to pick a topic of interest and dive in. I can guarantee you, though -- that chapter is going to make you hungry for more. The engaging, conversational style of this book made it very difficult to put down. And it was almost like a treasure hunt -- as I'd be reading an account of popular candies or toys of the day, I'd think of one myself and eagerly wait to see if it was mentioned. Unfailingly, it was. I thought I had caught an omission once when I found no reference to the intoxicating smell of a fresh mimeograph in the "School" section -- but not to worry, it was there in the subsequent chapter on "Gadgets and Gizmos.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book provides a fabulous trip down memory lane. Born in 1959, this fast reading book brought back plenty of memories I had forgotten. Thank you Mr. Chambers for the time capsule.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jim Chambers' delightful Recollections: a Baby Boomer's Memories of the Fabulous Fifties (2009) is, for the most part, an autobiography, as the title suggests--and despite the author's "...promise that this book is not a personal memoir." Presumably, he meant to say that he will sometimes write about matters beyond his personal experience, as, for example, when he discusses the "McCarthy Era." Usually, however, he presents mostly his own memories, from ages three to thirteen, of a middle-class childhood in the region of Greater Atlanta, rather than the kind of analysis one would expect from a history book.
Chambers' memories match my own closely, although I am almost ten years older and spent the 1950s in a suburb of Washington, D.C., and in college in Connecticut. Clearly, he supplemented his recollections with a lot of research into popular culture: family life, entertainment, schooling, food, and so on, and put that research to good use. Speaking as a professional historian, I must say that I found no major and only a few minor issues over which to quibble in this book. For example, early on, Chambers regards the Korean War as fought in 1951 in South Korea, whereas in fact it lasted from 1950 to 1953 (as he later acknowledges), and involved fighting largely in North Korea as well as in the South.
In the larger sense, some readers might prefer to read more about the 1950s' darker side, as, for instance, the economic troubles of the recession years, 1954 and 1957-58. It was a much maligned decade, and often justly so. Granted, Chambers does mention such problems as racial segregation, and other, less Norman Rockwell-like aspects of the time. Should he have dwelt more on such matters? It depends on his intent.
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