The 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

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Overview

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.
 
“What happened to the America I thought I knew?” Brokaw writes. “Have we simply wandered off course, but only temporarily? Or have we allowed ...
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Overview

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.
 
“What happened to the America I thought I knew?” Brokaw writes. “Have we simply wandered off course, but only temporarily? Or have we allowed ourselves to be so divided that we’re easy prey for hijackers who could steer us onto a path to a crash landing? . . . I do have some thoughts, original and inspired by others, for our journey into the heart of a new century.”
 
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 offer 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 won 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. Offering ideas from Americans who are change agents in their communities, in The Time of Our Lives, Brokaw gives us, a wise, honest, and wide-ranging book, a nourishing vision of hopefulness in an age of diminished expectations.
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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.

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.)
From the Publisher
Praise for The Time of Our Lives

"With commonsense values, [Brokaw] appeals to Americans to recommit to family and community, increase civic engagement, and make sacrifices in an effort to ensure some security for generations to come. An engaging recollection of the achievements of the past, the realities of the present, and the promise of the future."--Booklist

"[Brokaw] jumps into triage mode with this tenderhearted, nostalgic journalistic roundup, just in time for the upcoming presidential election ... Brokaw is especially good at working the human-interest angle ... An ever-upbeat message from the well-connected yet modest veteran journalist."--Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Boom!
 
“[Brokaw] approaches this magnum opus with warmth, curiosity and conviction, the same attributes that worked so well for his Greatest Generation.”—The New York Times
 
“Brokaw does an excellent job of capturing an exciting, controversial period in American history and Boom! is a worthy addition to his growing canon.”—New York Post
 
Praise for The Greatest Generation
 
“Offers welcome inspiration . . . It is impossible to read even a few of these accounts and not be touched by the book’s overarching message: We who followed this generation have lived in the midst of greatness.”—The Washington Times

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594504412
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.38 (h) x 1.10 (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.
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    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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 28 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 30, 2011

    Highly Recommened. You don't want to miss this one!

    A great extension and follow up of The Greatest Generation. Being 82 years of age I can relate to all of the happenings related to in this in this story. As for the future course this country takes He is right on with his insight of the future happenings and recommendations of this Great Old USA

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2011

    Thoughtfully written

    Today's United States are not the same as the ones generations past grew up to know and love. I am in my early thirties, and though I know America will retain her place as an economic and military power for the foreseeable future, I do sometimes wonder with some unease what American society will look like when my kids are my age.
    Brokaw, a pillar in American news media, has delivered a compelling, honest, and thoughtfully written work that yearns for simpler days gone by but looks forward with optimism to a bright future - if we return to the values and ideals that made us great to begin with. I believe in America, I believe in her people, and I believe we can retain our status as a global leader in all facets of human endeavors.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 22, 2011

    Interesting viewpoints presented, easy to read

    I bought this book based on Tom Brokaw's reputation as a news anchor, and he did not disappoint. The writing style is very reminiscent of his news delivery, though slightly more conversational. The ideas brought up in the book make sense, and though I did not agree with some of the suggestions he proposed to "turn things around", the reasoning and the examples were well thought out and presented.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2012

    Biography, history,and foresight Given Brokaw's pre eminent posi

    Biography, history,and foresight
    Given Brokaw's pre eminent position as a respected journalist, his observations and viewpoints regarding the American condition has to be taken seriously. His biography however, wasn't really inspiring, given the fact that many of his generation grew up not particularly privileged and became successful in life. To his credit, Brokaw credits his success in part to others an being at the right place at the right time. I'm glad I read it but in my view you might get the same stories and observations from most people of his generation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    Tori

    Walks up

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

    This is a very good read! Brokaw does a great job describing how

    This is a very good read! Brokaw does a great job describing how America may have lost some of its greatness recently, but, given our legacy and the fortitude displayed by present day American, our country will regain its focus and mission. His book is a combination of autobiography, history book, and editorial expose. He demonstrates how proud he is of his children and grandchildren. He describes how they have to face many obstacles, including financial, in order to make it through the, "great recession." While the Great Depression may have been extemely difficult it was our ancestors, the current difficulties experienced by many Americans today have motivated some individuals to make major impact on education, family, and the society at large. Highly recommend this book, especially for those who have enjoyed reading Brokaw's book, "The Greatest Generation."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    Tom Brokaw is right on.....once again

    This is a thought provoking book about where we have been, the direction we may be going, and what we can do to make our lives better. Everyone will benefit from reading this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2012

    So Interesting ....

    This book is so full of insight to our world today and how is differs from our world of not so long ago. It really makes you stop and think. I appreciate his ability to show us the good and bad of the past and present. Tom's personal touches make the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Brilliant!

    Very well written. A snapshot of where our country was, and where we need to be headed. Recommend highly, for we are living in trying times.









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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2011

    A good read with food for thought.

    The first two thirds of the book was the best, but either I got tired of it or Brokaw lost steam the last third. Worth reading, but don't expect to be shaken by it.

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  • Posted December 2, 2011

    Great read

    One of Toms' better books. Highly recommend .

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