Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Baby Boomer Encyclopedia

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Baby Boomer Encyclopedia

Article excerpt

The Baby Boomer Encyclopedia. By Martin Gitlin. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood, 2011. 231p. acid free $55 (ISBN: 978-0-3133-8218-5). E-book available (ISBN: 978-0-3133-8219-2), call for pricing.

Martin Gitlin's Baby Boomer Encyclopedia is a fun read, especially if you fall into one of the categories that the Library of Congress has supplied as one of the subject headings for this work: "Middle-aged persons--United States--Encyclopedias." Gitlin's stated purpose was "to broadly encapsulate the generation" (vii) and to "[inform] later generations about their Baby Boomer parents and [to give] Boomers insight into their generation." (vii) With nearly one hundred entries, there is a lot of information to support these goals. Under the entry for "Games" (77) are descriptions of chicken fights and red rover. The TV show M*A*S*H has an entry, as does Ronald Reagan. The entire book is a short trip (see also "LSD" (119-20)) down that well-worn path, Memory Lane. Entries are generally at least a page in length, although some are longer. Most entries have at least two citations for "further reading." A brief chronology opens the encyclopedia beginning with the end of World War II in 1945 and the birth of the first babies of the baby boom in 1946 and continuing through 2010 when the first baby boomers reached retirement age. An alphabetical list of entries is provided at the beginning, as is a topical list. Topics include "Arts and Culture," "Events," "Family," " Music," and "Politics and Activism," among others. Scattered black and white photographs provide illustrations.

As with any encyclopedia of this nature, there is always the problem articulated by Bob Seger: "So much more to think about / Deadlines and commitments / What to leave in, what to leave out" (Against the Wind, 1980). Gitlin indicates that he chose topics "based on relevancy to the generation as a whole" (vii). …

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