Before listening to this book - the fifties only meant Sputnik, Elvis and doo wop to me (born in 54). How wrong I was. This book opened a new world to me from investigation of classic jazz recordings to some very interesting pre-60's philosophy and thought that I knew nothing of.
If you want your perception of the 50's as a sleepy decade to be given a jolt, this is the book to do it!! Very well done - even handed and broad in scope.
Born in the mid-fifties I missed most of the history described in this book. Up to now I thought the era was just like Happy Days or American Graffiti. This books tells the whole story of the era and its effects on race relations, culture, merchandising, and music that persist to this day. It does a great job of showing how 50's Rock and Roll set the stage for the 60's that would follow.
This book pinpoints the moment when teenage culture began. When all of a sudden being "IN" was everything and a major preoccupation not only to teens but for their families as well. Modern parents grappling with teenager cell phone bills can finally know how this whole mess started LOL.
In addition to the generational wars -- this book also describes effects on economics and marketing. It also describes in detail the causes and effects of the "payola" radio scandal and other social history tidbits.
All in all a very good listen - 3rd stop on my tour of the 50's ("1959", The Cold War"). I recommend this tour to anyone born in the 50s. We just "missed" a very eventful time in history.
I was born in 1954 which as it turns out is a very eventful year (Sputnik) in the history of the cold war. This book covers the vast expanse of this subject in a very even-handed way discussing the ebb and flow and great figures during this period. He does a great job of reminding all who lived through it just how much this conflict effected everyday life on both sides of the wall.
In the end it is a very uplifting story of restraint and wisdom that gave me at least great hope for the future.
It was also the second leg of my trip through the 1950's stimulated by listening to the book "1959" which I also highly recommend!!
The production and narration of this book are first rate. No problems there.
This book started out a bit odd ... the author bends over backward describing how poorly designed the brain is. He likens it to an ice cream cone - through each evolutionary stage a new "scoop" is added.
Not a bad metaphor given his evidence. His point is that the human brain is not an exalted paragon of "design". It uses bio-chemical "wiring" that is slow and a bit of a kludge ...
In the last chapters it becomes clear - this is really a rant against creationism. Given the reductionist process of the author -- the brain is the result of evolution, thus it arose from lower creatures, thus it is inherently primitive. Then he quotes a couple of studies of unfortunate folks with various brain disorders and from these couple of cases states that we "know" how the brain works. For me there is no way for us to really know about God (or god) logically so I am at a loss to know why so much time is spent on it -- we will ALL have our answers soon enough.
There was a startling (to me at least) fact pointed out in this book that was just dropped in the rush to his tirade. Due to the architecture of the brain, low-level sensory acquisition structures present processed perceptions FIRST to the "emotions" (limbic) BEFORE the analytical part. An emotive judgment is the first reaction we make -- analysis comes later. In an evolutionary context this makes sense. Living things must determine -- what is it? prey, predator, sexual partner, etc.? Only THEN do we analyze. Hummm -- very fertile ground here ... the psychology of "eye" witnesses ... the nature of intuition ... why is love irrational? ... etc ...
Scientists like Linden EMOTIONALLY ask aloud -- why do people need religion when it is so "obviously wrong". Maybe the answer is right here. A strictly analytical explanation is not the "whole brain" answer we seek. Describing chemical processes is light years from "useful" truths about HAVING a brain.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.