Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

A Memoir

by Bill Bryson

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2006, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2007, 224 pages

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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: The increasing importance of oil gave an economic boost to many Middle Eastern countries, but the ruling elite were the main ones to benefit. The fledgling state of Israel spent most of the decade in a 'state of austerity' as it tried to accommodate the approx. 250,000 ...

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