Time of Our Lives: A Conversation about America


Who we are, where we’ve been, and where we need to go now, to recapture the American dream
Now with a new Foreword by the author
“The best presentation of the challenges facing the country—and the possible solutions—I've ever seen.”—P. J. O’Rourke
Tom Brokaw, known and beloved for his ...
See more details below
BN.com price
(Save 22%)$17.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (96) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $2.99   
  • Used (89) from $1.99   
Sending request ...


Who we are, where we’ve been, and where we need to go now, to recapture the American dream
Now with a new Foreword by the author
“The best presentation of the challenges facing the country—and the possible solutions—I've ever seen.”—P. J. O’Rourke
Tom Brokaw, known and beloved for his landmark work in American journalism and for the New York Times bestsellers The Greatest Generation and Boom!, now turns his attention to the challenges that face America in the new millennium, to offer reflections on how we can restore America’s greatness.
Rooted in the values, lessons, and verities of generations past and of his South Dakota upbringing, Brokaw weaves together inspiring stories of Americans who are making a difference and personal stories from his own family history, to engage us in a conversation about our country and to share ideas for how we can revitalize the promise of the American Dream. Inviting us to foster a rebirth of family, community, and civic engagement as profound as the one that helped win World War II, built our postwar prosperity, and ushered in the Civil Rights era, Brokaw traces the exciting, unnerving changes in modern life—in values, education, public service, housing, the Internet, and more—that have transformed our society in the decades since the age of thrift in which he was raised. In offering ideas from Americans who are change agents in their communities, Brokaw gives us a nourishing vision of hopefulness in an age of diminished expectations.

“Inspiring tales of how people from different walks of life have found ways to be of service to their communities and country.”—Walter Isaacson
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

As the man who coined the phrase "The Greatest Generation" and wrote another bestseller (Boom!) on the long-term influence of Baby Boomers, Tom Brokaw seems eminently qualified to reflect on the current state of the American Dream. Self-described as a conversation about our country, The Time of Our Lives asks hard questions about the malaise and cynicism that seem to pervade our country. Brokaw's answers take him back to the root values of hard work, public responsibility, and trustworthiness that made this small-town South Dakota offshoot one of America's most respected news broadcasters. He draws on stories of real people of several generations who coped with deprivation and adversity to achieve great things. A superb conversation starter.

From the Publisher
“The best presentation of the challenges facing the country—and the possible solutions—I've ever seen.”—P. J. O’Rourke
“Inspiring tales of how people from different walks of life have found ways to be of service to their communities and country.”—Walter Isaacson
“The public is open to [Brokaw’s] call for expanding national service, and his advocacy could make a difference in public opinion and the legislative struggles to come.”—Washington Monthly
“A hopeful volume, providing insightful analysis as well as a call to action.”—BookPage
“A valuable contribution to the national discourse and may just inspire some readers to go out and make a difference.”—Associated Press
Publishers Weekly
Legendary broadcast journalist Brokaw assumes an avuncular tone to discuss America's past, present, and future (the latter designated as "promise"). Addressing issues from lackluster education, military mindsets, public service, digitalization, and engaging anecdotes encountered during years of reporting, he also presents his and his wife's family histories in engaging fashion. The format meticulously frames perceptions of modern challenges versus simpler times and urges a proactive stance. Of America's leadership class, he writes: "We have too few of those voices these days." In the educational race with other nations, he suggests regionalizing college opportunities: "Consolidation is a logical place to begin." Brokaw (The Greatest Generation) strongly encourages advocacy groups for wounded veterans and suggests that although "mandatory public service may be a hard political sell…bold, new initiatives are in order." (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
The venerable newscaster administers advice for our ailing nation. Brokaw (Boom!: Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today, 2007, etc.) jumps into triage mode with this tenderhearted, nostalgic journalistic roundup, just in time for the upcoming presidential election. The author sounds the themes familiar to readers of his Greatest Generation (1998) and other works--e.g., that the United States is an immigrant nation and derives its strength from the enterprising mix, that Americans need to learn more science and math to compete with China and Korea, as well as embrace thriftier habits and volunteer for public service. Brokaw and his wife are grandparents now, and the author moves in an exalted retirement that allows him to reflect on the collision of generations throughout the decades. He harkens back continually to the values instilled in him growing up in South Dakota in the '50s, with frugal parents who had come through the Depression and were determined to give their children more than they had. As a result, his "bridge generation" tended to be somewhat consumerist, "a little giddy by what we were earning and all the new opportunities to spend." Brokaw is especially good at working the human-interest angle; he includes telling vignettes about people who've been bankrupt by the housing bubble, and others who have thrown their resources, money and talent into public service and community activism. Each chapter sounds a nostalgic theme--e.g., "Stepping Up and Signing Up" or "Balancing the Book of Life"--to assert how best to tap back into the rosy themes that made America great, as if this past can be regained. An ever-upbeat message from the well-connected yet modest veteran journalist.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812975123
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 400,670
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Brokaw is the author of five bestsellers: The Greatest Generation, The Greatest Generation Speaks, An Album of Memories, A Long Way From Home, and Boom! A native of South Dakota, he graduated from the University of South Dakota with a degree in political science. He joined NBC News in 1966, serving as the White House correspondent during Watergate and anchoring Today on NBC from 1976 to 1981. He was the sole anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw from 1983 to 2005. He continues to report for NBC News, producing award-winning long-form documentaries and providing expertise during breaking news events. Brokaw has won every major award in broadcast journalism, including two DuPonts, a Peabody, and several Emmys. He is a regular contributor to the op-ed pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, and to Time, Newsweek, and Men’s Journal. He lives in New York and Montana.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 6, 1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      Webster, South Dakota
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of South Dakota

Interviews & Essays

A letter from Tom Brokaw

My fellow Americans,

When you hear that phrase from a politician, does it seem insincere or anachronistic?

Wouldn't it be more honest if they said, "My fellow members of the Divide America club."? For that seems to be the objective these days across the political spectrum - divide, not unite.

For almost a half century I've been reporting on American politics, the American culture and the American dream. I don't remember a time when there was so much anxiety about our common values, vision, and legacy.

So, in THE TIME OF OUR LIVES I set out to reflect on how we got here, how we may emerge from our current frustrations, and how much we owe future generations. It's at once a personal book, written from the perspective of my working class roots, journalistic background, and the lessons I learned in writing an earlier book - The Greatest Generation. I also wrote this book as a grandfather who felt a certain urgency about providing my grandchildren the same choices and opportunities I had.

You 'll meet a lot of familiar people - President Obama and Rush Limbaugh among them - but the real lessons come from ordinary Americans, past and present, who love their country and worry it has lost its greatest asset: its ability to make this immigrant nation stronger than its many parts by working together.

I begin with a simple question: what happened to the America I thought I knew? I end with an enduring lesson from the American wilderness. In between I encourage everyone to re-enlist as citizens and join me in a conversation about who we are and where we want to go.

I hope you'll join our discussion.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)