Blue Sky Dreamby David Beers
In Blue Sky Dream: A Memoir of America’s Fall from Grace, award-winner David Beers offers a powerful, personal vision of the rise and fall of the American middle class. Here is a dazzling literary chronicle of a family, a people, and a nation: the “blue sky tribe” of ever-optimistic middle-class Americans who believed in something called the American Dream, then woke up one day to discover it was gone. Blue Sky Dream is a book incredibly rich in ideas, in ways of seeing the recent past with stunning clarity. David Beers explores issues that define our times—downsizing, middle-class anxiety, the profound anger with government, the sense that something has gone awry with the United States—with such skill, personal immediacy, and compassion that readers will see their own histories in his prose. Blue Sky Dream can rightly be called a communal memoir, because in telling his family’s tale—growing tensions and disillusionment in their suburban paradise, a son rejecting his parents’ values, one sudden and inexplicable moment of violence—Beers tells the story of his people, the blue sky tribe “who imagined ourselves to be living the inevitable future, and are very surprised today to discover we were but a strange and aberrant moment that is now receding into history.”
The technocratic "scientific-technological elites" that Eisenhower criticized while excoriating military industrialism became the heroic warriors of Kennedy's New Frontier: white-collar, white male engineers and rocket scientists who flocked from crumbling industrial cities to aerospace communities like Houston, Seattle, and Silicon Valley. Beers's father, Hal, a naval aviator who sacrificed his dream of being a test pilot to become a Lockheed engineer, was among them. He was an organization man whose career "traced perfectly the arc of the Cold War aerospace industry," fueled by Pentagon spending and anticommunist ideology. And his growing disaffection with the corporate bargain is posited, convincingly, as an analog for Americans' discontent with a social contract eroded by downsizing and by stagnating wages. "Blue Sky" is Beers's term for the sunny optimism of his parents' generation, which placed unmitigated faith in progress and corporations; in the safe, managed life of their sterile suburbs; in the forgiving, rather than wrathful, God of his mother's New Catholicism. Beers has a keen eye for the sociocultural derivations of tribal behavior. Deconstructing such diverse phenomena as television in the 1960s and ranch-house design, Beers demonstrates an engaging, free-ranging intellect that savors the humor in absurdity. He's candid about rejecting the parental example (choosing freelancing over corporate security, ironic detachment over Catholicism), and he wrestles frankly with the guilt that his family's prosperity was financed by an industry whose militarism, unknown to the child, is morally repugnant to the adult.
An exceptionally lucid, penetrating examination of the iconography of American middle-class life on the cusp of the space age, when optimism made infinite progress seem not only possible, but inevitable.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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- Random House
- NOOK Book
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- 3 MB
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