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
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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

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  724 ratings  ·  147 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...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Random House Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2011)
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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...more
Erin
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
Jen Kilpatrick
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
Doug
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
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
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...more
Tom
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...more
Rickey
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
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
Mark Buehl
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.
Don Stanton
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
Doug
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
Beth
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
Kelley
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
Ken
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,...more
Amanda
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...more
Hols
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
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...more
Mom
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...more
Kristin King
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...more
Kevin
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
Chris
This book was a disappointment. There wasn't anything in particular wrong with the content of the book except that it wasn't very interesting or connected. It seemed like a series of unrelated (and poorly written) lectures that a grandpa might give to his grandkids about how things are different now than they used to be. The target audience for this book appears to be people who have just awakened from a 25-year coma and have no clue about the current political, economic, or technological climat...more
Rachel
Tom Brokaw offers his perspective on various topics such as housing, education, and technology in this thought provoking book. It's a great read for this election year because he presents the issues simply, chapter by chapter - giving some relevant background that may be new information for younger readers, then moving into the present day, and also how these issues will impact future generations.
Personal stories are woven in as well, which was an aspect of the book that I enjoyed. He brings in...more
Irene
In fewer than 275 pages, this famous journalist tries to solve the problems facing the U.S. A., from education reform to bipartisan rancor, from care of veterans to redefining the role of grandparents. The reader is also provided with abundant details about his home design, his daughter’s lives and his parents’ history. This book was repetitive, shallow and amateurish.
Richard
Jan 20, 2014 Richard rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: I read a review.
This is not the kind of book you sit down and read. Maybe a chapter a day would be better. Each chapter begins with a "fact" swings to personal anecdotes from the Brokaw family and ends with how people are solving the current version of this problem and what you should do to be a part of that solution.

Very down to earth advice, and maybe too simplistic, but he is proposing a start. There are some failures listed, too, but it wasn't the fault of the people working on the solution, but they were h...more
Elizabeth
I read this book for one of my library book clubs and really enjoyed it. Brhokaw weaves his perspective on major issues of the day (the wars, home ownership, various education issues) into a general discussion of topic. He also makes numerous references to his family and how some of these issues have affected them. Really glad I read it.
Carrie
I love Tom Brokaw. He is one of the newsmen that I grew up with and trusted all through my adulthood. I remember watching him when he was "just a reporter" as well as when he was an anchorman. Along with Peter Jennings, he was a favorite, trusted source of news. And, he is close to my Dad's age, which makes him seem fatherly and wise. This was a good book. Very honest about America's situation today, which made it hard to read at times. Our world right now is very scary and facing some really to...more
Laurie
I put this book on my to-read list after seeing Tom Brokaw talk about the book on The Daily Show. I thought it sounded interesting, and it was. But perhaps it would be more interesting to people of a certain age (mainly, Tom's age). Not that there wasn't stuff in it for the younger generation. Much of what Brokaw writes about is how we can make America great again. He suggests different things that people of all ages can do to help out our neighbors and make changes in the way our nation is run....more
Janet
I am enjoying this book. It is written in a folksy conversational style by prominent journalist who I have respected throughout my lifetime. The subject matter looks at where we have come from as a nation, where we are now, and thoughts about the future. There are many personal and family anecdotes included as well as highlights of prominent and not so prominent world events and people. Reading this book has helped me reflect on a wide range of world, national and personal events that I have not...more
Jill
Have always thought very highly of Tom Brokaw - love his ability to report the news as it is, without a biased spin. That said, it was very interesting to read his personal opinions regarding the state of America, based on his access and interactions with a variety of Americans.
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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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