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Outside the Gates of Eden
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Exhilaration and anxiety, the yearning for community and the quest for identity: these shared, contradictory feelings course through Outside the Gates of Eden, Peter Bacon Hales' ambitious and intoxicating new history of America from the atomic age to the virtual age. Born under the shadow of the bomb, with little security but the cold comfort of duck-and-cover, the postwar generations lived through - and led - some of the most momentous changes in all of American history. Hales explores those decades through perceptive accounts of a succession of resonant moments, spaces, and artifacts of everyday life - drawing unexpected connections and tracing the intertwined undercurrents of promise and peril. From sharp analyses of newsreels of the first atomic bomb tests and the invention of a new ideal American life in Levittown; from the music emerging from the Brill Building and the Beach Boys, and a brilliant account of Bob Dylan's transformations; from the painful failures of communes and the breathtaking utopian potential of the early days of the digital age, Hales reveals a nation, and a dream, in transition, as a new generation began to make its mark on the world it was inheriting. Full of richly drawn set-pieces and countless stories of unforgettable moments, Outside the Gates of Eden is the most comprehensive account yet of the baby boomers, their parents, and their children, as seen through the places they built, the music and movies and shows they loved, and the battles they fought to define their nation, their culture, and their place in what remains a fragile and dangerous world.
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About the Author

Peter Bacon Hales is professor emeritus of the history of art and architecture and director emeritus of the American Studies Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of several books, including, most recently, Atomic Cities: Living on the Manhattan Project. He lives and writes in New York's Hudson Valley.

Reviews

"This is an utterly original, unprecedented work of cultural history and commentary, a tour de force, based on an exhaustive array of sources, explicating American experience from World War II to the present. There are simply no books on this period with this scope." (Jeffrey L. Meikle, University of Texas at Austin)"

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