cover image Boomers: The Men and Women Who Promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster

Boomers: The Men and Women Who Promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster

Helen Andrews. Sentinel, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-0-593-08675-9

Journalist Andrews debuts with a scathing critique of the baby boomer generation’s “dismal legacy.” Describing the “boomer revolution” as “the most dramatic sundering of Western civilization since the Protestant Reformation,” she examines the fallout of the 1960s in bracing profiles of six public figures. In Andrews’s view, Apple cofounder Steve Jobs represents Silicon Valley’s mix of “idealism and obnoxiousness,” screenwriter Aaron Sorkin embodies the ideological conformity of Hollywood, and economist Jeffrey Sachs personifies the hypocrisy of American policy makers in their continuation of colonialist practices under the auspices of liberalism and globalization. Andrews also cites the ubiquity of online pornography as evidence that the sexual revolution backfired, claims that race relations have stagnated and even gone backwards in recent years, and blames liberal Supreme Court justices for “demolish[ing] long-standing precedent... [in order] to give their humanitarian sentiments free rein.” She concludes with a passionate, albeit despondent, call for millennials to “break free” from the influence of the 1960s and stop believing that “narcissism is the highest form of patriotism.” Andrews makes some incisive points about baby boomer hubris, but undermines her argument with glaring omissions (the antiwar movement, for instance) and one-sided data points. Conservatives will rally to Andrews’s caustic appraisal of the culture wars; liberals need not apply. Agent: William Callahan, InkWell Management. (Jan.)