War Babies: The Generation That Changed America examines the lives and careers of Americans born between 1939 and 1945. No one has written such a book about this generation. War Babies deals especially with musicians and composers like Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Simon and Garfunkel; with film directors like Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese; with actors like Al Pacino and Robert De Niro; with athlete/activists like Muhammad Ali; with journalists like Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein; and with politicians like John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi. These are the people who continue to shape our lives and cultures in the 21st century.
|Publisher:||Cultural History Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Pells was never a traditional historian. He is primarily interested in 20th century American culture-movies, radio, television, art, music, literature, and the theater, all of which are reflected in his five books. Through his work, readers are treated to a history of American cultural life from the 1930s to the present. War Babies is a prime example of the concerns and issues that have shaped Pells's career.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Fred Phillips for Readers' Favorite War Babies by Richard Pells covers well-trodden territory, but does so with a difference. America and the world went through a transformative period in the 1960s and 1970s. The history of this time has been written about extensively, but most of it has been told as if the events and changes were the product of the Baby Boomer generation. However, Pells rightly points out that many of the people causing the changes were actually members of the War Baby generation (born between 1939 and 1945). Though this generation covers a much shorter span of time, war babies were instrumental in changing culture, music, movies, and politics. Using several key figures from that time, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Marin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Faye Dunaway, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, and Dick Cheney, War Babies details their lives and careers, and the way they changed America forever. War Babies is effective in conveying the early years of each person and showing how they rose to their prominent place in American lore. It covers history that most of us know, but provides key insights and information that gives us a fresher, and perhaps better, view of the Sixties and Seventies. Richard Pells is not only concerned with giving us a new perspective on this important era in American history, he is also proudly defending his generation. His main theme is that the War Baby generation created the cultural and political framework in which we live today. This is a long overdue book on a generation that seems to have slipped between the cracks, and it is both interesting and enlightening to a Baby Boomer like myself.
Buried by the Baby Boomers: Pells shines a light on the War Babies Author Richard Pells is an honored historian and writer having received his B.A. from Rutgers University in 1963 and his Ph.D. in history from Harvard in 1969 where he taught for three years. He now is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Texas in Austin. His many articles and writings honor his specialty - 20th century American cultural history, with a special focus on the impact of American culture on other countries. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, as well as 6 Fulbright chairs and senior lectureships. His books have been reviewed in Newsweek, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the New Republic. I also contribute articles regularly to magazines and newspapers including the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Los Angeles Times, and the International Herald Tribune. Pertinent to this book is the fact that he has lived and lectured all over Europe, as well as in Turkey, Southeast Asia, Australia, Mexico, and Brazil. It was these experiences living abroad that stimulated his interest in how America affected other people's cultures, and how foreign cultures affected America - themes emphasized in both of his books, `NOT LIKE US' and `MODERNIST AMERICA'. Now he steps into the spotlight with WAR BABIES: THE GENERATION THAT CHANGED AMERICA - long overdue exploration of those Americans born between 1939 and 1945 - the overall angst and contributions by writers, and leaders in movies, music, journalism, sports, and politics. Perhaps being one of these War Babies contributes to the enthusiasm this reader has for this book. It is like a visit home to childhood and then a survey of all of the important figures bred during the time of WW II and post WW II era. His journey is reflected in the four sections of his book: the war babies produced the culture and political attitudes that persist to this day; The war babies were the architects of a value system less communal and more private, more suspicious of the benefits of government policy, political and organizations of all types; the war babies' perspective on America was darker and more pessimistic - a skepticism that characterizes contemporary American culture and politics; the attitudes of war babies was exemplified in their movies, music , journalism and politics, that their descendants absorbed but did not originate. His book is divided into significant chapters exploring the following: A child's eye view of World War II, Growing up in Cold War America, The limits of McCarthyism, The war babies and the Postwar Media, The revolution in movies, Reshaping America: the politics and journalism of the war baby generation, and the Legacy of the War Babies. Peel brings to our attention many things even those of us who are war babies have forgotten - that famous people such as musicians and composers like Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin, and Simon and Garfunkel, with film directors like Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese, with actors like Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Faye Dunaway, Harrison Ford, Lily Tomlin, Christopher Walken, Harvey Keitel, Martin Sheen and Joe Pesci; with athlete/activists like Muhammad Ali and Billie Jean King; with journalists like Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Tom Brokaw, George Will and Roger Ailes; influential politicians and humanitarians like Jesse Jackson, John Lewis, Tom Hayden, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Richard Holbrooke, John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi. By bringing all of this and so much more to our attention, the era of War Babies becomes far more important to our national image and thinking. A fascinating book, brilliantly written. Grady Harp, October 14
I couldn't put this book down and actually started over when I finished it. As one of the people born during this timeline (1939-1945), I was fascinated by Pell's premise that War Babies (and not the Baby Boomers) definitively changed American society in the last 50 years. I consider this a must read and look forward to others' opinions about it.