My Generation: Fifty Years of Sex, Drugs, Rock, Revolution, Glamour, Greed, Valor, Faith, and Silicon Chips

Michael Gross, Author
Michael Gross, Author Cliff Street Books $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-017594-8
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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Journalist Gross, author of Model and a long-time chronicler of baby boom culture, has chosen the form of a group biography of 19 ""quintessential boomers"" to investigate what has made this generation (born, as Gross defines it, between Pearl Harbor Day and the assassination of President Kennedy) tick over the past half century. The book opens with a report from Woodstock '98 and some general reflections on the boomer generation that converged on the muddy fields of the Aquarian Exposition some 30 years earlier. Here, Gross offers this melancholy assessment: ""...our generation has proved to be as tragic as it was blessed, as late-blooming as it was prematurely admired, as reckless as it was adventurous, as pitiable as it was enviable."" The remainder of the book follows these 19 baby boomers from childhood to maturity. This chronological skin barely manages to hold together the skeleton of the group biography. Individual lives are picked up and dropped so fast that the reader will wish for family charts and a more detailed character list to refer to. The disparate group ranges from Marianne Williamson (""wild child turned spiritual celebrity"") to Michael Fuchs (""media maven multimillionaire retiree"") and Nina Harley (""red diaper baby turned bisexual feminist porn star""). Some will dispute Gross's assertion that a character sketch of a generation can be achieved by highlighting a score of not-so-average examples. Nonetheless, Gross's bittersweet look at baby boomers and their culture is certain to induce a wave of nostalgia among his peers. Photos. Agent, Ellen Levine. (Feb.)
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