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The Fifties av David Halberstam
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The Fifties (urspr publ 1993; utgåvan 1994)

av David Halberstam (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,634308,250 (4.09)12
The Fifties is a sweeping social, political, economic, and cultural history of the ten years that Halberstam regards as seminal in determining what our nation is today. Halberstam offers portraits of not only the titans of the age: Eisenhower Dulles, Oppenheimer, MacArthur, Hoover, and Nixon, but also of Harley Earl, who put fins on cars; Dick and Mac McDonald and Ray Kroc, who mass-produced the American hamburger; Kemmons Wilson, who placed his Holiday Inns along the nation's roadsides; U-2 pilot Gary Francis Powers; Grace Metalious, who wrote Peyton Place; and "Goody" Pincus, who led the team that invented the Pill. A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER… (mer)
Medlem:tmennel1
Titel:The Fifties
Författare:David Halberstam (Författare)
Info:Ballantine Books (1994), Edition: Reprint, 816 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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The Fifties av David Halberstam (1993)

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I was born in 1952 and my recollections (as faint as they are) were of a much simpler time. But as Halberstam points out, there were tremendous changes about to begin in American culture, business, media, morals, technology and politics. The civil rights movement received a huge push with the Brown decision. The bith control pill was being developed.

I remember Dwight Eisenhower as a rather reserved leader. I was surprised about his promotions of overthrowing the governments of Iran and Guatemala. He would have also tried to over throw Castro if he had time left in office. He left that and the ill fated Bay of Pigs fiasco to the Kennedy administration.

I enjoyed the portrait of Charles Van Doren and the game show scandal. Joe McCarthy was shown as an alcoholic bully and liar. The Korean War was a mistake and we were about to repeat the mistakes of the French in Vietnam.

The portrait that registered most to me was Frederic Morrow, a black man who endured tremendous insults working in the Eisenhower administration. He was constantly humiliated when it came to travel and hotel arrangements. People treated him as a porter and driver. A very depressing story of the lack of civil rights and civility in the Eisenhower White House.

It’s a long book but there are so many interesting stories, people and events that even if you are not a historian, you will enjoy the book. ( )
  writemoves | Oct 26, 2021 |
I read Halberstam's wonderful and important "Best and the Brightest" when it came out. This is the second one of his I've read and it is just about as good and important. It was also very heartening to read during the recent Gov't Shutdown fiasco, just to realize that people can be even more stupid and more evil and more self-interested and more ignorant and more manipulative. Even. And, yet, we survive and move on and change. A little.
[edit]
I did not elaborate on the above. As bad as some things were in the Fifties, the US still passed into law and thru the courts de-segregation and fought towards the 1960s Civil Rights. It is often simply unbelievable what civilization can do. ( )
1 rösta tmph | Sep 13, 2020 |
ספר מצוין. כל פרק עוסק לכאורה בנושא נפרד מן האחרים, ברעיון, בהתפתחות כלכלית או חברתית, באדם, בספר, בתנועה, במוזיקה, במלחמה. כל פרק שלם בפני עצמו אבל הכל ביחד נותן תמונה מרתקת ושלמה של שנות החמישים. לי באופן אישי הכל היה קרוב מוכר וידוע כי אלו השנים שבהם התלחלדתי ללמוד על העולם מסביבי בייחודת תוך קריאת הטיים והפלייבי וגם בשנים הבאות ההשפעות של שנות החמישים בארה'ב הגיעו לארץ באיחור אלגנטי של כמה שנים והורגשו כאן יותר מתמיד. לכן הכל נראה לי מוכר, חשוב וידוע ומאידך סוף סוף אני רואה את הדברים מוארים באור אחיד ובהיר ולא כהבלחות של אירועים יחידים. יופי של ספר. ( )
  amoskovacs | Jun 2, 2020 |
An eerie moment while reading The Fifties: A day ago, towards the end of the book, I finished the chapter on Charles Van Doren and the quiz show scandals of the 1950s. I almost immediately fell asleep thereafter. About eight hours later, I woke up and decided to look up Van Doren and see where he was these days, knowing he must be in his nineties. And the first thing I saw? Van Doren had just died. Eight hours previously. Just as I was finishing the chapter on him. I suppose with a world population closing in on eight billion people that a coincidence like that was inevitable. But it also goes to show you how far back in time, now, were the 1950s and the people who headlined those years. They are all succumbing to age and mortality.

David Halberstam's book remains a nice contribution to understanding the decade. In the past, I've used it almost like a reference book. But this time, I decided to read it through cover to cover. And doing so reveals his method along with his strengths and weaknesses.

The chapters of The Fifites are built around biographical sketches of leading figures from politics, science, art, film, television, journalism, business, and literature. And if you read Halberstam's most famous work, which is about the background to the men who led the US into Vietnam, The Best and the Brightest, you will recognize the same technique at work, here. Like that volume, The Fifties relies upon Halberstam's skill as a journalist and an interviewer, especially someone with access to the then still living people who were among the 1950s most significant cultural and political icons.

The Best and the Brightest is Halberstam's best work and has kept its place as one of the most important studies of the Vietnam War. And that is because Halberstam is at his most formidable when he is taking a skeptical attitude towards his subjects and questioning the everyday presentation of social and governmental propaganda that surrounds them. The same approach cannot be said entirely of The Fifties.

In this book, Halberstam has divided his focus onto saints and evildoers. And the result is likely unintentional. That is, the people Halberstam obviously disapprove of are far more interesting than the semi-divine figures he often comes close to worshiping. A few examples: I'm far more interested in reading about the tumultuous background and motivations of Edward Teller, the father of the H-bomb, than I am of the prim and proper Robert Oppenheimer, on whose side in the Teller-Oppenheimer conflict Halberstam firmly affixes himself. So, too, with figures from the civil rights movement. Orville Faubus makes for an intriguing Richard III type character of sympathetic background but self-serving and morally compromised personal ambition. Meanwhile, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks come across as cardboard cutouts, so saintly that they lose all human quality. Halberstam literally mentions the issues of King's plagiarism and fondness for prostitutes in a one sentence parenthesis, commenting on how even great men have their foibles! Not so, of course, with Joseph McCarthy or John Foster Dulles, who he goes into depth to psychoanalyze and rake through their weaknesses. The result? Dulles and McCarthy again appear as fascinating subjects for further reading. At the same time, the cultural figures Halberstam gives pages to, Elvis, James Dean, and Marlon Brando, come across as boring. How do you make Brando boring! Finally, there are two figures from 1950s feminism highlighted in the book, Betty Friedan and Grace Metalious, the latter being the author of Peyton Place. The chapter on Saint Betty provides the literary equivalent of the Bataan Death March in that you think you will never make it through to the end. But the pages on Metalious, on the other hand, are captivating. I want to know more about this tragic figure made all the more human for her debauchery and lack of discipline.

There is much, much more in the book. And while it isn't a work you would ascribe to a professional historian (as was very nearly the case in The Best and the Brightest), it gives a sense of completeness to the overall feel of the decade.

What a tragedy itself was Halberstam's death in a useless automobile accident. He had many more fascinating books on plan. I wish we could have read them. ( )
1 rösta PaulCornelius | Apr 12, 2020 |
The abridged version of this work shrinks the 800 page book to 157 pages -- less than 20% of the original. However, it offers a fine overview of the David Halberstam's book, with coverage that parallels the format and themes of the original. Among the topics covered are the following: the late 1940s, Truman's presidency, the Korean War, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, automobiles, housing, fast food, the Eisenhower administration, television, actor Marlon Brando, the French war against Vietnam, Elvis Presley, houses and housewives, the novel Peyton Place, Sputnik, a TV game show scandal, and the Nixon/ Kennedy competition for the presidency.

I originally had opted to read the shorter version of "The fifties" on the grounds that the original seemed too much of a reading commitment to a decade that I already knew a lot about. However, I greatly enjoyed its content and insights, and am now strongly tempted to read the full account. ( )
1 rösta danielx | Nov 23, 2019 |
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In the beginning, that era was dominated by the shadow of a man no longer there—Franklin D. Roosevelt.
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The Fifties is a sweeping social, political, economic, and cultural history of the ten years that Halberstam regards as seminal in determining what our nation is today. Halberstam offers portraits of not only the titans of the age: Eisenhower Dulles, Oppenheimer, MacArthur, Hoover, and Nixon, but also of Harley Earl, who put fins on cars; Dick and Mac McDonald and Ray Kroc, who mass-produced the American hamburger; Kemmons Wilson, who placed his Holiday Inns along the nation's roadsides; U-2 pilot Gary Francis Powers; Grace Metalious, who wrote Peyton Place; and "Goody" Pincus, who led the team that invented the Pill. A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

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