The Baby Boomer Encyclopedia

The Baby Boomer Encyclopedia

The Baby Boomer Encyclopedia

The Baby Boomer Encyclopedia

Synopsis

This encyclopedia defines and contextualizes the Baby Boomer generation and the wide-reaching contributions of its members throughout modern American history.

• Contains nearly 100 alphabetically arranged encyclopedia entries

• Includes a chronology of historic events

• Provides a bibliography of selected print and electronic sources

Excerpt

Generalizations about Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1965, are rife. They were the ones protesting the Vietnam War. They took LSD. They frolicked in the mud at Woodstock. They turned their backs on their religious upbringings and became atheists or agnostics. They shed their pacifism and called for bombing Iran back to the Stone Age during the hostage crisis of 1980. They felt like hypocrites telling their kids not to use drugs after they had spent their college years in a haze of marijuana smoke.

The reality is, of course, much more nuanced. Millions of Boomers, particularly from small towns and rural areas, backed American involvement in Vietnam. Few from the generation tried LSD. Only a half-million attended Woodstock. Many maintained or even strengthened their religious beliefs or called for prudent measures to free the American diplomats in Iran. Millions were too busy studying and preparing for their careers to smoke pot in college whereas others could not afford college or were forced to work after high school to help their families. Furthermore, the lifestyles and actions of Baby Boomers born in the second half of the 1950s and beyond proved quite different from those of the generation that entered the world previously.

Indeed, Baby Boomers cannot be stereotyped. But greatly because of the circumstances and events of the times, some were more visible to the public eye and media scrutiny than others, particularly when the first wave was coming of age in the turbulent 1960s.

The first of the Baby Boomer generation was born in 1946, nine months after the first American soldiers and other military personnel returned from Europe and Asia as World War II was coming to a victorious conclusion. The huge number of couples that wed and committed to creating large families in a condensed period of time made the Baby Boomer generation the most populous in the nation’s history. The population of the United States jumped dramatically during the two decades following the war, which is considered the timeline spanning all Boomer births.

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