Part memoir, part social history, The Life and Times of the
is a hoot. Bryson describes his idyllic childhood
growing up in the middle of the USA, in the middle of the last century, in the
middle of the baby boom years - a time of unprecedented prosperity for the
country as a whole, quite different to the depression-era experiences of the
previous generation; but it's not all rose-tinted glasses - the threat of
nuclear war, Joe McCarthy, and America flexing its muscles overseas all come
into the picture.
I found The Life and Times
fascinating, even though I wasn't alive in the
50s and didn't grow up in the USA. In fact, perhaps I found it
particularly fascinating because of these two factors. Whether you grew up
in the 50s and are looking to re-live times past, or are interested in a
fun social history that will...
Beyond the Book
Elsewhere in the 1950s.
While many in the USA experienced an unprecedented economic boom in the
1950s, what was happening elsewhere?
Europe: The division of Europe into West and East persisted.
The foundations for the European Community were laid. Rationing continued
in some Western countries (e.g. in Britain up until 1953), but post-war
reconstruction was booming, due to the Marshall Plan (a four year plan
instigated in 1947 during which about $13 billion of economic and technical
assistance was given by the USA to certain European countries. At
the end of the four years, the economies of every participating country except
Germany had exceeded their pre-war levels.
The Middle East:...