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The Time of Our Lives: A conversation about America; Who we are, where we've been, and where we need to go now, to recapture the American dream

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  1,009 Ratings  ·  181 Reviews
Tom Brokaw, known and beloved for his landmark work in American journalism and for the New York Times bestsellers The Greatest Generation and Boom!, now turns his attention to the challenges that face America in the new millennium, to offer reflections on how we can restore America’s greatness.

“What happened to the America I thought I knew?” Brokaw writes. “Have we simply
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Random House (first published January 1st 2011)
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Dec 12, 2011 Erin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was so horribly disappointed in this book. I grew up watching Tom Brokaw on Nightly News every single night for years and years. I like him as a journalist, and thought that with all of those many years of studying politics, cultures and the like, maybe he'd have some good things to say about our future as a generation and a nation. But no. The vast majority of the "solutions" he suggests I believe to be very misguided. His chapters on education almost made me physically ill... I had to read t ...more
Clif Hostetler
The Time of our Livesprovides observations from an experienced sage of current affairs. Listening to the audio edition of this book was similar to sitting across a coffee shop table listening to an extended commentary about life from an erudite and enlightened observer.

Tom Brokaw is close enough to my age (he’s 6 years older) that I could identify with most of his sentiments reflecting on past life experiences. If we were in a real two-way conversation I would have had a few retorts, occasional
Jen Kilpatrick
Dec 26, 2011 Jen Kilpatrick rated it did not like it
I'd say this book was a huge disappointment, but that would imply that I had expectations. I'm not sure why I picked it up. I suppose the only excuse I have is that Cracker Barrel's selection was struggling. I prefer to listen to non-fiction while driving, and there were only 3 options. Anyway...chapters 1 & 2 were so boring I almost turned it off, but chapter 3 was about education so I kept listening. At the end of the book, I can honestly say I have no idea what it was really about. He tal ...more
Dec 07, 2011 Doug rated it it was ok
I'm sorry to say that I was deeply disappointed in this book. I always respected Brokaw as a journalist and thought The Greatest Generation was one of the most spot on books I've ever read. I'm sorry to say that I found this examination of where we are and where we are going as a country to be over-simplified, condescending and borderline insulting in it's assumption of the readers lack of intelligence. I am getting very tired of people who will never have a financial worry in their lives (read ...more
This was full of so many solid principles on a variety of topics. I loved it. Plus he mentioned GIS! It doesn't get any better than that.

I'm becoming a fan of Tom Brokaw. I like his writing style and his topics. He also seems, to me, pretty unbiased. Once again he calls for political friendliness which is badly needed in this day and age. However, I think the only thing that will help us head in that direction will be nothing short of a catastrophe. He's a supporter of the military and he points
Donna Hines
Aug 24, 2016 Donna Hines rated it liked it
I'd start by saying we are only as good as the system and government that governs our actions . Our current system is severely broken in every way. Todays system of governing favors the wealthy and forgets the lower class . Mistakes from higher ups are now being absorbed by the middle class ie bank bailouts, WallStreet, housing market fall out. Our middle class is now almost obsolete in 2016. We need to take a serious look at our government, our policies, procedures, laws, our history, our agend ...more
Stan Lanier
I've never been a Brokaw fan, but I have respected him over the years. Never has his context as a privileged member of American society been made so clear to me as the voice and perspective in this reflection. I don't understand this penchant to ascribe equivalence between the Tea Party and figures such as Keith Olbermann. I suppose in his role as elder statesman as to the state of America, Brokaw thinks he has to adopt a "balanced" voice. I'd much rather an ACCURATE voice. Neither does his love ...more
Emily Mishler
Aug 26, 2012 Emily Mishler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won a copy of this book through a goodreads giveaway.

I really enjoyed Brokaw's new book. He brought to light many salient points about the social and political scene in America today. Brokaw gently pointed out the failings of both ultra conservatives and ultra liberals in an inoffensive manner, chiding both sides for their sometimes hypocritical and often hostile behavior, especially towards each other. I particularly enjoyed the section on the dotcom age. While most of his points are hardly n
Jun 22, 2015 Joseph rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, audio-cd
A great book by one of the great news people/reporter/authors in American history. I listened to this as an audio, so I liked that it was his voice to his book. I read some of reviews that were negative suggesting he is out of touch, that he doesn't see a bright future for America for various reasons, his reporting on facts on some politicians, etc. Well people, most of what he said is true. The education system in America is screwed up and it needs fixing. The Dem's and Rep's usually can' agree ...more
Jan 15, 2012 Tom rated it did not like it
Having read it I find Brokaw is a really nice friendly guy. However his presentation of our issues is over simplified and lacks depth. It's a "nice, nice," book. Everything is handled correctly and no judgments are made.

I am struck by the sections about his family in the depression. He looks with pride on their perseverance and independent pride. Yet his answers for today's issues consist of mushy wish lists. I don't see him drawing from yesterday's strength to address tomorrow's issues. To requ
Dec 11, 2012 Rickey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this as an audio book. A respected journalist and newscaster since the mid 1960’s, Tom Brokaw's voice was a pleasure for me to listen to. This book covers a wide range of topics from politics, his personal life, America then and now, and his views on the wide range of changes he’s seen in the last fifty years. At times it was a look at the future, yet at other times it was a nostalgic look at the past. He offered suggestions, not magic solutions, on how to make America’s future str ...more
Chris Aylott
Dec 22, 2011 Chris Aylott rated it liked it
Brokaw surveys life in America, both now and in the past, with an eye towards what will make the future better. I enjoyed the personal reminiscences, but I think he puts a little too much stock in altruistic individuals setting inspiring examples for us all. The several pages he spends on an approving profile of largely discredited educator Michelle Rhee points out one of the pitfalls of that approach, but I think he also misses the need for incentives within a system that encourage change and i ...more
Kristen Wampner
Jun 24, 2015 Kristen Wampner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brokaw is a conversational writer and introduces readers to a number of interesting people, including his family. He compares the attitudes of folks who grew up in the Depression with Boomers and the coming generation of his grandchildren. His theme includes how much life has changed. He also includes a number of good ideas about how we can all help improve the world.

Each chapter includes his introduction, a brief `past' history, a look at the present and what he calls the `promise' of the futur
Decent review of political history and special events occuring over the last 60 years. Written in neutral journalistic style - was really hoping for something a little more personally directed. Mr Brokaw does go into some of his and his wife's history together - they have been married 40+ years - amazing and interesting in and of itself but my expectations were a little different I think. This is a man who has seen so much - stuff up close and in his face and behind the scenes - so much has chan ...more
Mark Buehl
Mar 31, 2012 Mark Buehl rated it really liked it
This is a very good and thought provoking read. Tom Brokaw gets you thinking about the status of America in a very logical way. He asks questions, and gives answers, thoughts, facts, and conclusions in a very thought out way. This book will get you thinking and asking why we cannot be better.
Aug 19, 2016 Susanna rated it it was ok
Although I grew up watching Tom Brokaw on many an evening spent at my grandparents' place, often over dinner, this book was lacking for me. Which, quite honestly is a pure shame. I had bought this for my grandma when it came out five years ago, several years after my grandfather died, as they had both preferred his newscast to any other. I had heard the end of a speech he gave on CSPAN to promote this book which ended up being most of the final chapter; and to be honest, it was the best part of ...more
Scott Sakamoto
As only Tom Brokaw can express in his easy anecdotal telling that most of us have experienced, this book confirms the challenges that face us all in America and his reflections on how we can restore America's greatness.

"What happened to the America I thought I knew?" he writes. "Have we simply wandered off course, but only temporarily? Or have we allowed ourselves to be so divided that we are easy prey for hijackers who could steer us onto a path to a crash landing?"

A good follow-up to Bill Clin
Sep 04, 2015 Justin rated it it was ok
I should have known this going in, but once a journalist, always a journalist. The author presents no new ideas, merely recycles old ones and comes across as giving a tired old man's wishful thinking that everyone in the country would suddenly choose to live in smaller homes, work to save the environment, increase teachers' pay, and stop going to war. While I agree with many of the author's wishes for a better society, presenting anecdotal stories about pockets of people doing good makes for int ...more
John Bloomberg
Nov 27, 2014 John Bloomberg rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Don Stanton
Mar 06, 2012 Don Stanton rated it it was ok
In Brokaw's "The Time of Our Lives: Past, Present, Promise ", I was delighted in some the relativity he recounts in stories about himself growing up in a white middle class family. (The similarities were accurate as far as how we reacted as boys, not by class; (I was from the poor side of town). His stories of the 'make do' with what we had during our early years, I have learned are uniquely common for our age group and the time. My view is that in early post WWII years was possibly the most lev ...more
Jun 04, 2012 Doug rated it liked it
I've put this one in 'how to', but perhaps it should be under 'opinion'? After Tom Brokaw retired, at least for me, he seems to disappear. While I've heard of his other books, they didn't seem to grab me they way the tag line/premise of this one did. Or perhaps what I was hearing was an intimation of what I wanted to hear - how to fix the degeneration of society. While I disagree with him on some things, I think he did do a great job in trying to approach his assertion of 'how to recapture the a ...more
Nov 21, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simply and clearly written, nostalgic about the values and times embodied in my time (1936 - present), Tom Brokaw tries to answer a question for himself "What happened to the America I thought I knew?" The book contains autobiographical material from his growing up and the values it imparted to him. In Part one he discusses the time when he got the fundamental beliefs of his life. In part two he discusses what he learned as he began covering the news in the US. He gives suggestions which might h ...more
Jul 03, 2012 Kelley rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
Honestly....this book REALLY disappointed me. I loved watching the nightly news w/ Tom....reminded me of a wise grandfather (possibly because he IS a wise grandfather!) and I loved The Greatest Generation even though some may have called it an oversimplistic portrayal of a group of people. I thought it was heartwarming and informative. Anyway, I was stoked when I got this book for Christmas from John and it really bummed me out when I realized that this book was definitely rushed to press. It fe ...more
Jan 24, 2012 Ken rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I give this the four star treatment because of its readability, appeal of the author, and its importance. It is a telling book that every American who cares about the future of the country should read. This volume is basically a tour de force of the big issues confronting America, its competitiveness in the future, and its legacy of the present.

Beginning with the uncivil nature of today's national discourse and moving on to issues such as health care, education, the military complex, and others,
While I've always been a huge fan of Tom Brokaw, I've yet to read any of his previous books because they always seemed a little...disconnected in relation to my life. I knew that books about the "Greatest Generation" and the "Baby Boomers" would be valuable to read for the very reason that I DIDN'T know nearly enough about them; it's our history, and it's important; but somehow, I've yet to pick one up.

That was a large reason I jumped at his newest work as soon as it came out. This book still ta
Jul 29, 2013 Hols rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book, though the lower rating reflects the fact that I'm not really sure what the point of this book is. Recapturing the American Dream? That evokes more "How To" in my opinion. The book was more rambling ideas and memoir with a few "facts" peppered in here and there. Brokaw writes fluidly and this is a quick and enjoyable read. Clear to follow though? Not so much. What was the point of the chapter on the Internet? To demonstrate the fact that physical newspaper readership is down ...more
Tom Burke
Mar 24, 2012 Tom Burke rated it it was ok
Tom Brokaw has been in the popular culture for so long, it is hard not to hear him as you read this book. It is an interesting chronicle of the past 50 years that has a message: we need to change.

It is a noble effort from a trusted source. His scholarly approach lays out one topic after another: education, service, the internet and so on. Each chapter follows the same format: the past, the present, the challenge for the future. It all makes logical sense and is actually the kind of treatment th
May 26, 2012 Mom rated it really liked it
Listening to Tom Brokaw read "The Time of Our Lives," I was reminded of the core values that guided the lives of my parents. Growing up with them in a rural area, the concepts of thrift, integrity and lending a hand to neighbors and relatives were a way of life. It seems that Mr. Brokaw grew up in the same culture. So, his book was a refresher course that helped me to revisit the way those values were learned.

With a large world view and a reporter's skill in observation, thinking and writing, Br
Kristin King
Jan 29, 2014 Kristin King rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Excellent--in the overview of issues as diverse as caring for war veterans, enlisting America in public service, and philanthropy. I may not agree with every position, but I learned a great deal about people across our great nation who are using their passions to improve our children's tomorrows. Worth a read for those individual stories alone.

BTW--I listened to the audiobook, and, as always, enjoyed Brokaw's broadcasting talent. He grew up in my father's time (close to it) which made the perso
Dec 30, 2012 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won this book on goodreads, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to you. This book was beautifully written. Brokaw presents a reasonably moderate and respectfully non-partisan look at some of the problems America faces now and in the immediate future. Brokaw offers humble and sympathetic solutions that transcend partisan politics and political ideologies. Above all, the strength of The Time of Our Lives is its ability to inspire readers to get up, go out, and make a difference in the country--a l ...more
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Thomas John Brokaw is an American television journalist and author, previously working on regularly scheduled news documentaries for the NBC television network, and is the former NBC News anchorman and managing editor of the program NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. His last broadcast as anchorman was on December 1, 2004, succeeded by Brian Williams in a carefully planned transition. In the later ...more
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