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Description - Teenagers by Grace Palladino

Nobody worried about teenagers" prior to the 1940s. In fact, as a culturally or economically defined entity they did not exist. But in the 50 years since the last world war, when the term was first coined, teenagers have had an enormous impact on American culture. They have reshaped our language, our music, our clothes. They have changed forever the way we respond to authority. They have become a 200 billion consumer group avidly courted by marketers. And they have changed our culture, which will never again treat their demographic group merely as young adults. Teenagers ranges widely across American culture of the middle twentieth century to depict the shifting characterizations of teens from invisible young adults to young soldiers in training, to bobby soxers and zoot suiters, to rock 'n' rollers and juvenile delinquents, from hippies to savvy consumers. Grace Palladino examines everything from Andy Hardy and Elvis Presley to Seventeen magazine and MTV. She challenges those who decry teenage hedonism and immorality today, showing that modern disaffected teenagers, as in the past, are responding just as much to hypocritical adult behaviour as to a commercial cult of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780465007660
ISBN-10: 046500766X
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 23mm)
Pages: 336
Imprint: Basic Books
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 27-Feb-1997
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - Teenagers by Grace Palladino

Book Reviews - Teenagers by Grace Palladino

US Kirkus Review » A direct, droll, but disturbing social history of American teenagers and their value in the marketplace. Palladino, coeditor of the Samuel Gompers Papers at the University of Maryland and author of Another Civil War (not reviewed), traces the rise of the youth culture in 20th century America. The notion of teens as members of an independent group with their own interests is relatively recent. At the end of WW II, Palladino contends, a transformation took place in American family life. Until then adolescents had been considered children whose role was to prepare for the future and contribute to the family income. Instead, they gradually became "teenagers" with a "voice and vote in family affairs." In addition, these teens came to expect a private social life. No longer taboo, interaction with the opposite sex became the focal point of teens' lives. Magazines geared to teens began offering tips on how to achieve popularity with the opposite sex. Nonetheless, until the mid-'50s teens were largely "ready, willing and even eager to take their social cue from adults." That changed with the advent of rock 'n' roll. The new mood of defiance and independence impacted on the marketplace, as teens quickly emerged as a unique group of consumers, spending, by 1964, about $100 million on records alone. In the past 20 years, the baby boomers of the '60s have gone on to spend $200 billion a year on their children. To her credit, Palladino goes beyond mall receipts to larger concerns. Despite their cars, CDs, and MTV, too many of today's teens are socially disaffected. It is up to adults, argues Palladino, to reexamine the legacy of hypocrisy, nihilism, and hedonism they have passed on to these children. Replete with statistics, first-person accounts, and extensive footnotes, this is the first social history to follow Beaver and Wally's devolution into Beavis and Butt-Head. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Grace Palladino

Grace Palladino is coeditor of the Samuel Gompers Papers at the University of Maryland and is the author of the prizewinning book Another Civil War.

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Samuel Gompers Papers by Grace Palladino
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