The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way (And It Wasn't My Fault) (And I'll Never Do It Again)

The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way (And It Wasn't My Fault) (And I'll Never Do It Again)

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by P. J. O'Rourke
     
 

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P.J. O’Rourke began writing funny things in 1960s “underground” newspapers, became editor-in-chief of National Lampoon, then spent 20 years reporting for Rolling Stone and The Atlantic Monthly as the world’s only trouble spot humorist, going to wars, riots, rebellions, and other “Holidays in Hell” in more

Overview

P.J. O’Rourke began writing funny things in 1960s “underground” newspapers, became editor-in-chief of National Lampoon, then spent 20 years reporting for Rolling Stone and The Atlantic Monthly as the world’s only trouble spot humorist, going to wars, riots, rebellions, and other “Holidays in Hell” in more than 40 countries.
Now O’Rourke, born at the peak of the Baby Boom, turns his keen eye on himself and his 75 million accomplices in making America what it is today. With laughter as an analytical tool, he uses his own very average, if sometimes uproarious experiences as a key to his exceptional age cohort. He writes about the way the post-war generation somehow came of age by never quite growing up and created a better society by turning society upside down.
THE BABY BOOM: How it Got That Way… And It Wasn’t My Fault… And I’ll Never Do It Again is at once a social history, a group memoir of collectively impaired memory, a hilarious attempt to understand his generation’s messy hilarity, and a celebration of the mess the Baby Boom has made.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/23/2013
Prolific political and social commentator O’Rourke, author of 17 books, including the bestselling Parliament of Whores, has created here a thoughtful portrait of the baby boomer generation and what its members have done for the American way of life, and “the way we talked everybody into letting us get away with it.” While O’Rourke acknowledges that sweeping generalizations about millions of Americans do not always apply, he seems to feel comfortable enough standardizing boomers at large as creatures of self-interest, hypocrisy, and hysteria. But even while discussing annual income and per capita GDP, O’Rourke maintains the dry wit that makes every chapter a delight, even if the picture they form is incomplete. The hilarity is helped along by plenty of anecdotes from his own life as a boomer, including the tale of when O’Rourke’s underground newspaper was occupied overnight by Balto-Cong radicals. As a cultural analyst, O’Rourke’s ability and willingness to simultaneously lampoon and celebrate himself and his generation are unequaled. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-04
What should have been easy picking for the satirist isn't nearly as funny or perceptive as his best work. O'Rourke (Holidays in Heck, 2011, etc.) has made a career out of skewering his generation's liberal pieties and high-minded self-regard. Perhaps he has used up too much of his material or figured that the generational topic was so ripe for caricature that the book would write itself. Yes, the baby boomers are narcissistic, hypocritical, as materialist as they are idealist and obsessed with whatever stage of life they happen to be passing through. "We speak from the heart, and that's not half of it," he writes. "We speak from the gut, from the spleen, from the liver's bile ducts, out our butts, through our hats, even our T shirts can't shut up with the things we have to say, never mind social media and talk radio talk show call-in callers." Point made and taken. O'Rourke's long-windedness reinforces rather than punctures that tendency, as he describes the typical baby boomer's (i.e., his own) family, maturation, sexual awakening, radical acculturation, substance experimentation (though he continues to prefer beer to illegal drugs), and ultimate need to cut his hair, buy a suit and get a job. He spends a surprising amount of time stuck in the 1950s, though it was the '60s that would define this generation, and about which he belabors some obvious points: "It was not, of course, a decade. The Sixties as they are popularly remembered…was an episode of about 72 months duration when the Baby Boom had fully infested academia and America's various little bohemian enclaves…and came to an abrupt halt in 1973 when conscription ended and herpes began." He has the same memories of not attending Woodstock that so many others have, and he even recycles the ancient joke about what the Grateful Dead fan said when he ran out of pot. "Our genius is being funny," writes the author of his generation, but such genius is in short supply here.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802193070
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
01/07/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
405,821
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

P. J. O’Rourke was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, and attended Miami University and Johns Hopkins. He began writing funny things in 1960s “underground” newspapers, became editor-in-chief of National Lampoon, then spent 20 years reporting for Rolling Stone and The Atlantic Monthly as the world’s only trouble-spot humorist, going to wars, riots, rebellions, and other “Holidays in Hell” in more than 40 countries. He’s written 16 books on subjects as diverse as politics and cars and etiquette and economics. His book about Washington, Parliament of Whores, and his book about international conflict and crisis, Give War a Chance, both reached #1 on the New York Times best-seller list. He is a contributing editor at The Weekly Standard, H. L. Mencken fellow at the Cato Institute, a member of the editorial board of World Affairs and a regular panelist on NPR’s Wait… Wait… Don’t Tell Me. He lives with his family in rural New England, as far away from the things he writes about as he can get.

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The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way (And It Wasn't My Fault) (And I'll Never Do It Again) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
RS416 More than 1 year ago
P.J. O'Rourke skewers our self-indulgent generation with a walk through his own formative years. Several times he gives examples of how our generation votes itself a benefit with the bill being sent to future generations. But don't trust him. He's over thirty. Oh! So am I.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was okay but wasn't what I thought it would be like and was a little disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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