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
From the Trade Paperback edition.
"In retrospect," writes David Halberstam, "the pace of the fifties seemed slower, almost languid. Social ferment, however, was beginning just beneath this placid surface." He shows how the United States began to emerge from the long shadow of FDR's 12-year presidency, with the military-industrial complex and the Beat movement simultaneously growing strong. Television brought not only situation comedies but controversial congressional hearings into millions of living rooms. While Alfred Kinsey was studying people's sex lives, Gregory Pincus and other researchers began work on a pill that would forever alter the course of American reproductive practices. Halberstam takes on these social upheavals and more, charting a course that is as easy to navigate as it is wide-ranging.
"Fascinating...The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist leaves no stone of the '50s unturned."--The Washington Post Book World
"An engrossing sail across a pivotal decade."--Time
"Absorbing...Jack Kerouac and the Beats. Grace Metalious and Peyton Place. Betty Friedan and the first stirrings of the feminist movement. The Pill...The racial riots in Little Rock which didn't begin until the television cameras showed up, Elvis and the Hula-Hoops. All these phenomena and more were part of that conflicted and afflicted decade...[A} valuable book."--The Washington Post Book World
"Outstanding...As journalist David Halberstam shows in his latest work, events and key personalities during the '50s not only made the revolutionary '60s happen, they were also as full of ground-breaking episodes as any decade in 20th-century American history."--The Christian Science Monitor
"A journalist is a storyteller, and David Halberstam has a way with stories...He sweeps fluidly through crescendos and diminuendos, delivers morals and produces a satisfying second rough draft of history...A useful antidote to the '50s nostalgia that passes for 'traditional values.'"--San Francisco Chronicle
"Engaging...The message here is that the 1950s were not years of innocence but rather years when innocence was lost."--The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Fresh, dramatic...Halberstam's thesis about the decade is that, below its placid surface, great social ferment was occurring, a point he demonstrates eloquently by outlining the beginning of everything from the civil rights movement through the sexual revolution to the rise of rock-and-roll...His portrait of a decade is vivid and beguiling."--The New York Times
"Sinfully entertaining...Loaded with narrative horsepower...The only thing it's lacking is a pair of fuzzy dice."--Newsweek
From the Back Cover