The Way Things Never Were: The Truth About the "Good Old Days"

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9780689814129: The Way Things Never Were: The Truth About the

Presents a true account of how life really was in America during the 1950s and 1960s by exploring the issues, struggles, fears, and quality of life of that era through stories, documented information, and photos.

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About the Author:

This is Norman H. Finkelstein's eleventh nonfiction book for young readers. "Like all parents," Finkelstein says, "I enjoyed telling my children how much better life was when I was their age. The idea for The Way Things Never Were emerged when they began challenging my heroic tales of walking fifteen miles to school in waist-deep snow."

Finkelstein is a school librarian for the Brookline, Massachusetts, public school system and a part-time instructor at Hebrew College. Among his titles are Remember Not to Forget: A Memory of the Holocaust; Theodor Herzl: Architect of a Nation; The Emperor General: A Biography of Douglas MacArthur; Sounds in the Air: The Golden Age of Radio; Thirteen Days/Ninety Miles: The Cuban Missile Crisis; With Heroic Truth: The Life of Edward R. Murrow; Heeding the Call: Jewish Voices in America's Civil Rights Struggle; and Friends Indeed: The Special Relationship Between Israel and the United States. Norman Finkelstein lives in Framingham, Massachusetts.

From Publishers Weekly:

The catchy title of Finkelstein's (Friends Indeed) latest is a bit of a misnomer, for his examination of the good old days of the 1950s and '60s spends less time debunking myths of the past than extolling the superiority of present-day America. In his prologue, Finkelstein notes that current talk-show hosts and politicians "tell us how much happier we would be if only we returned to the values, lifestyle, and practices of America's past." But the social and cultural issues of primary concern to those espousing "family values" garner little attention here. The majority of the chapters open with a nostalgic "myth" (e.g., "We Never Locked Our Doors"; "We Respected Our Elders"), followed by a discussion of advancements in technology and government programs which make life in the 1990s better than it was in the past. Some of Finkelstein's points are unsurprising (polio vaccines and the widespread use of antibiotics have led to a far healthier population) while others seem more like claims than facts (e.g, he asserts there was more violence on TV in the past than there is today). Quotations from Finkelstein and others who were children during the 50's and 60's enliven a statistic-filled text, as do the book's many historical photographs and perky design (though lengthy photo captions printed in tiny type are a drawback). For those readers up to the challenge, Stephanie Coontz's book for adults, The Way We Never Were, gives a more provocative examination of this glorified era. Ages 10-14. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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