Stories of Elders: What the Greatest Generation Knows About Technology That You Don't

Narrated by: Veronica Kirin
Length: 9 hrs and 11 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
4.5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

America’s Greatest Generation (born before 1945) witnessed incredible changes in technology and social progress. From simple improvements in entertainment to life-changing medical advances, technology changed the way they live, work, and identify. Sadly, with each passing year, fewer members of the Greatest Generation remain alive to share their wisdom as the last Americans to grow up before the digital revolution.  

In 2015, millennial author and cultural anthropologist Veronica Kirin drove 11,000 miles across more than 40 states to interview the last living members of the Greatest Generation. Stories of Elders is the result of her years of work to capture and share their perspective for generations to come.   

Stories of Elders preserves the wisdom, thoughts, humor, knowledge, and advice of the people who make up one of America’s finest generations, including the Silent Generation. Their stories include the devastation that came from major events in US history like World War I, the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, and World War II.   

The Greatest Generation (many of whom are now centenarians) saw the routine use of airplanes, cars, microwave ovens, telephones, radios, electricity, and the Internet come to fruition in their lifetimes. Their childhoods were simple, relying on outdoors games and their imagination for fun. How they went to school, pursued their careers, and raised their kids were radically different than the way we live today.  

By chronicling more than 8,000 years of life lived during the most transitional time in American history, Stories of Elders offers old-fashioned wisdom and insight for America’s future generations.

©2018 Veronica Kirin (P)2018 Veronica Kirin

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The Beauty of Living a Simple Life

I had the opportunity to get this audio book for free. I enjoyed listening to Veronica's stories and reminded me of those times I spent summer at my grandparent's place where we use to get things done manually such as fetching water from the well, collect woods for cooking, go to the river and wash clothes. This book also reminded me how much I have relied on technology these days and stressing over small things, when in fact there are still people currently living with less technology and they are living their life to the fullest. This is a good book and would definitely recommend it to my friends!

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Interesting and Important Information

Stories of Elders is a fascinating study of how advances in technology have had both positive and negative effects on our culture as seen through the eyes of those born before most of that tech was even conceived. Conducted by anthropologist Veronica Kirin, the study is based on a series of interviews of people from what's known as "the Greatest Generation."

The narration is a little stilted and the editing is not always the best (and I'm saying this as a friend of the author). However, the book is worth listening to for the stories and insights offered by a generation of people who've seen the fast and furious changes of the last one hundred years.

Highly recommended.

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A historically significant look at America

In our digital world, it's not often that we consider the wisdom of the people who grew up in the decades before the things we now think of as essential to our lives. Seeing how Veronica Kirin was able to piece together and analyze the testimonies and advice of America’s oldest living elders was a fascinating read. I feel like I understand now why we call them the “greatest generation”.

Despite the subtitle’s emphasis on technology, the subjects covered in these interviews and memoirs reach far beyond the introduction of electricity, automobiles, and the internet into society. These are stories of how American society and culture have changed in ways that Millennials like myself cannot really appreciate through the facts provided by U.S. history books.

By reading the true stories of members of the greatest generation who grew during the dust bowl or both of the world wars, I get a sense of really having been there for it all. Can you really imagine what it was like to live during the great depression? I’ve lived around the world, from very developed to very undeveloped places, and it’s still hard for me to really picture what life was like back in that portion of American history before the advent of easy transportation and the ability to research or purchase whatever we need as soon as we need it.

I think that in time Stories of Elders will prove to be a quite historically important book that has captured a collection of unique voices at the last moment of history where it was still possible to do so. We are quickly running out of our nation’s centennials and centenarians. I am glad for my own sake and the sake of my children and all future generations that no matter what changes the future of technology and social issues bring us, we will still have this little window of life at a simpler time.

Frankly, Veronica Kirin’s book has even inspired me to take a greater interest in cultural anthropology as whole. There’s a lot of history and cultural left out there for us to discover and document.