The Good Life: The Meaning of Success for the American Middle Class

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9780060972752: The Good Life: The Meaning of Success for the American Middle Class
From Publishers Weekly:

In this sweeping study of evolving middle-class values in America, social historian Baritz ( The Servants of Power , City on a Hill ) recalls a rigidly authoritarian, male-dominated turn-of-the-century society infused with accelerated ambition from the waves of tradition-bound but upward-struggling immigrants. World Wars I and II, the morally rebellious jazz-age 1920s and the sobering 1930s Depression gradually eroded male self-esteem, shows the author, while slowly creating new opportunities for women. More significant change, Baritz notesnot surprisingly, began in the 1950s when suburban baby-boom parents "replaced culture with wealth" and valued above all else their children's material "happiness"which in turn led to a bored tyranny of the young who in the 1960s and '70s ridiculed conventional values, fought for civil rights and an unfettered lifestyle, and resisted the Vietnam War. Now, in pursuit of individual wealth and power, according to the author, women, ethnics and reactionary males elbow each other fiercely as a "protean" androgynous and loveless middle class "detached from its own history."
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

A review of middle-class attitudes in America, proceeding by decades from the 1920s. Baritz's survey is essentially a string of social science vignettes based upon familiar secondary works and laced with quotations from contemporary magazines. He finds little that is positive, whether looking at the discontent bred by advertising, bureaucratic demasculinization, the rise of the therapeutic mindset, the general atomization of society, or any other of the dozens of themes he takes up one after another. Such an easy target as the American middle class calls for more scholarship, insight, or wit than are evident here. Not recommended. Robert F. Nardini, M.L.S., North Chichester,
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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