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Boom! Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  1,625 Ratings  ·  315 Reviews
In The Greatest Generation, his landmark bestseller, Tom Brokaw eloquently evoked for America what it meant to come of age during the Great Depression and the Second World War. Now, in Boom!, one of America’s premier journalists gives us an epic portrait of another defining era in America as he brings to life the tumultuous Sixties, a fault line in American history. The vo ...more
Hardcover, 688 pages
Published November 6th 2007 by Random House (first published January 1st 2007)
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Jun 14, 2008 Cheryl added it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Excellent book! If you're a Baby Boomer it will sound like your life. Mr. Brokaw has it all. Civil Rights, Vietnam, Women's Rights, the music and the sounds of the 60's and the 70's.
If you are a child of a Boomer, read it to understand your parents!
Like his book "The Greatest Generation", Mr. Brokaw has interviewed those who were at the forefront of the many movements of the 60's. He also offers his view of this generation. He was a young newsman during the time and just starting his career. He
Jun 17, 2008 Erik rated it it was amazing
My first stab at Tom Brokaw’s writing came with his quick-read of a memoir, “A Long Way from Home”, which transported me to a time that I can only recall from stories told to me first-hand from my grandmother, born in South Dakota like Brokaw, and my father, who is about ten years junior to Brokaw. In this his second large-scale attempt to define an important American generation, Brokaw deftly weaves up-close and personal profiles of a multitude of American cultural and political icons – baby bo ...more
Feb 19, 2008 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-events
A little lifestory confession: I was in high school from 1967 to 1971. Had I been 4 years older and in college during those years, I would have seen "the 60's" up close and personal. While I vividly remember those times, it was as a younger "hippie-wannabe" rather than as a participant in the events. Nevertheless...

I really enjoyed this book. It's not just a look back on the 60's, but Brokaw interviews many of the more interesting "movers and shakers" of the period to reflect on how the issues o
Dan Holt
Jan 04, 2009 Dan Holt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good overview of those who influenced and were influenced by the events of the sixties. Brokaw gives an effective survey of many different individuals and personalities, avoiding the polarized views of the decade, and rather showing the complexities of a rather pivotal ten years. And written in an engaging style, weaving his own personal experience in and out of the profiles. My only complaint is that the book focuses more on the famous and less on ordinary people. I would have liked to s ...more
Rachel Brady
Jun 02, 2009 Rachel Brady rated it liked it
This helped me learn more about an era I've always been curious about. I was born in the mid-seventies and missed this important epoch in American history. Brokaw explores the civil rights struggles, feminism, the sexual revolution, the war in Vietnam, and America's disillusionment with its political leaders. Learning about the Sixties through interviews with some of its key figures was helpful. Brokaw also tied the Sixties into the current political climate. This book was published right before ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Mar 03, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: news groupies
Shelves: non-fiction
Tom Brokaw talks to people he knows from the 60's and groups them into different sections - women's movement, Vietnam, politics, etc. The result is a whole lot of anecdotes, without much deep analysis. I enjoyed meeting all of Tom Brokaw's friends, and found myself quite envious of his social life! I kind of wanted more pictures, more info on the more interesting personalities, and definitely a few more conclusions.
Dec 10, 2008 Alison rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely fascinating. It is a bit lengthy, but it was well worth every hour spent reading it. I learned so much about the sixties and our country during that time and the impact that it has had on our political climate today. It covers topics from JFK's assassination, the Vietnam war, drugs, women's rights, civil rights, MLK's assassination, Bobby Kennedy's assassination, music and Watergate and so much more.

What made the book so great was that Brokaw acknowledges from the begin
Jun 12, 2009 Katrina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those born from 1940-1970
Recommended to Katrina by: Aram Public Library Book Discussion
Shelves: adult, non-fiction
Good overview of those who influenced and were influenced by the events of the sixties. Brokaw gives an effective survey of many different individuals and personalities, avoiding the polarized views of the decade, and rather showing the complexities of a rather pivotal ten years. The result is a whole lot of anecdotes, without much deep analysis. Written in an engaging style, weaving his own personal experience in and out of the profiles. One complaint is that the book focuses more on the famous ...more
Jul 01, 2009 Rex rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As one born in the 80’s, I welcomed this opportunity to gain a broad perspective of the 60’s. I listened to the audiobook, which is skillfully narrated by Brokaw himself.

Brokaw guides the narrative by introducing many individuals who lived during the period. Brokaw’s extensive interviews and connections make for intriguing listening.

At times, Brokaw recounts the events as they occurred in the 60’s. Other times, he inserts interviews from people who provide a retroactive perspective of the time
Jan 27, 2008 Robert rated it it was ok
Tom Brokaw returns to the well of generational stories for this document of the lives of a time much more difficult to characterize than the WWII generation, that of the 1960s. Brokaw doesn't take sides in the resulting 40-year cultural debate and wisely qualifies this dispassionate stance by saying that whatever side one falls on, the Sixties were a complex time of cultural change. Merely commenting on the significance of that change and acknowledging that history is still judging the Sixties l ...more
Jul 04, 2010 Joanie rated it it was ok
The book started well, and there were interesting tidbits throughout. Tom Brokaw has access to the movers and shakers of the 60's. He reconnects with people whom he interviewed during more turbulent times to discuss where they are now and what they make of it all. It's an interesting premise, but it ultimately falls short. First, at between 600 and 700 pages, it's just too long. I got tired of it before it ended. Secondly, when you close the book, you really don't know much more than you did whe ...more
Aug 15, 2013 Paula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2013: I listened to this on CD a few years ago and liked it so much I made my own copy. So I'm listening to it again for a second time - am loving it just as much as the first time.


2008: I listened to this on CD and was mesmerized throughout. I'm still reeling from the nostalgia with which the stories in this book have filled me. I was 13 in 1968, THE year of the 60's decade, so I'm really a 70's kid. I remember much about the late 60's, but never had a context in which to pull
Apr 11, 2009 George rated it really liked it
Wars, riots, assassinations, a sexual revolution, a civil rights movement, Women’s Lib and a really cool sound-track: What’s not to love about the ’60s? Tom Brokaw’s excellent book, ‘Boom! Voices of the Sixties,’ is a Sociology-101 diamond mine: A comprehensive collection of thought provoking, well written, personal vignettes of first-hand experiences. An oral history of an incredible time.

There’s plenty to ruminate and reminisce about in its 612 pages. Especially for those of us of the pre-sep
This was a pretty informative book, but it left with 20x as many questions as I had before I read it. When I read this it feels like the 60's had so much chaos and violence and was just a terrible time to live. But it prolly didn't feel that way while living in it. Makes me wonder when people will write a book about the 2000's and how that will feel vs how it actually was. I want to sit down with my parents and chuckle with them about life in the 60's. I was surprised there wasn't really any tal ...more
Aug 16, 2014 Janice rated it it was amazing
Tom Brokaw is a great author! I have read a couple of his other books and enjoyed them, but I think this is my favorite. To be honest, I missed the 60's...besides being born in '71 I have also missed the big love/appreciation for the whole experience of the 60's and even most of the music of that time, including the Beatles. Yes, I know who they are, their place in history, appreciate them for their talents, etc. etc.. - but I have never been a big fan. BOOM! was a great read and helped put a lo ...more
Jul 26, 2008 Runningfox rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: I very highly recommend this book
Recommended to Runningfox by: It was offered by my book club and after reading a review I orde
This is a great book to read for anyone who is old enough to remember the 1960's and a great book for those too young..This book brought back many memories both good memories and memories of troubled times..Sometimes Tom does get a little wordy and drags out some things but overall this is a terrific book and if for nothing else should be read for its historical facts..I very highly recommend it..
Jan 09, 2014 Suzanne rated it it was ok
Shelves: lost-interest
I WILL finish this book, just not right now. Right now I'm on break from school and I really just want to read some light and fun material. So far the book has been very interesting just a bit heavy at the moment.
Jul 13, 2014 Clint rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing 2008 book that spends an inordinate amount of time allowing mainly '60s liberals to criticize the then-ongoing Iraq War. In general, much of the discussion concerns things that happened in the 1970s and 2000s. We do learn Tom Brokaw did sample pot in the 60s (and says he did inhale) and did fall into the early 1970s then-fad of trying to de-sexualize his three daughters by giving them male toys. He also continues to wallow in guilt over society's then-treatment of blacks and women ...more
Nov 11, 2015 Jackie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned much history from this book, and not just about the sixties and results from those years. There were many, many folks telling tales, and their lives have not stopped influencing us even today fifty years later. Most are still alive and in their sixties and seventies. Tom Brokaw also lists many of the books written in those years, influencing the masses.

Tom Brokaw organized the book in major topics, and let famous people tell their stories. For me that occasionally got confusing: who is
Kelsey Carlile
Jun 25, 2015 Kelsey Carlile rated it it was amazing
this book was fantastic and vivid. For someone who was born in 92 this book gave me a good idea of what the 60's were like.
Carol Brusegar
May 30, 2014 Carol Brusegar rated it it was amazing
Tom Brokaw in Boom! draws on his own life as a young adult in the 60s, beginning his journalism career. That drew him into the most significant events of the time and resulted in his meeting and developing relationships with many who were "on the ground" during this time.

The result is a series of reflections from various angles and positions and in the voices of a wide variety of people. He also includes how those people's lives evolved from those formative years into the present.

As a Boomer my
Sep 23, 2014 Grant rated it really liked it
Brokaw assembles a "virtual reunion" of the 60s generation(s) that provides a diverse collections of reminiscences and reflections on that the 60s meant to America, then and now, politically, socially, economically, and culturally. Brokaw largely succeeds in maintaining his objectivity in dealing with an impressive variety of well- and little-known figures, with vastly different perspectives. The active politicians are the least informative, too concerned with how reflections on the 60s then wil ...more
Anup Sinha
Oct 25, 2015 Anup Sinha rated it liked it
I enjoyed this! I consider myself an American history buff and I learned a lot about the 1960s from a man who is more than qualified to describe it. Being born in 1971, there were a lot of things I'd heard about the prior decade that I am eager to learn more about, particularly the Kennedys and the Civil Rights Movement.

Because I developed an eye condition, I was forced to use the audiobook and it took me nearly a month to get through it. Robertson Dean does a great job reading it and at times h
Sep 10, 2015 Ken rated it really liked it
It's a long book that was interesting most of the time, and at times highly insightful, but also reference-like, with many short interviews with individuals who were living in the 1960s. They offered their perspectives on events then and up to 2006 or 2007, especially about the war in Iraq, which came up several times. One gets a sense that if the book were written in 2015, the nature of the interviews would be a bit different because of electing a black president, the economic meltdown, and the ...more
Jenni V.
Dec 11, 2015 Jenni V. rated it liked it
I had this book on my 'to-read' list forever and finally got around to reading it after seeing it on the "endangered" shelf at the library (the final spot books that haven't been checked out recently go before getting weeded).

If they asked me now that I've read it if it should be kept, I'm not sure what I would say. It was well-written but there was so much speculation from him and others about the 2008 election, especially the primary between Obama and Clinton, that it's surprisingly outdated
I give up. It’s Tom Brokaw, I thought. I don’t know that much about the sixties compared to other eras, I thought; I missed all but a couple of months of the decade, so – here we go.

First of all, the writing was not what I expected. It didn’t feel like it was at the level where I would expect Tom Brokaw’s voice to be, after all the acclaim I've heard about his books. It wasn’t stupid, quite; it wasn’t badly written, the format was interesting (part memoir, a smattering of interviews bookended b
Bob Schmitz
Nov 08, 2015 Bob Schmitz rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Tom Brokaw describes the 60s through the eyes of his famous and wealthy friends. It's very interesting but one wonders what the non-famous people were doing. At age 62 I remember 90% of what he talks about and it is very interesting to hear well known people from that time muse about it's meaning.

A few notes from the book:

A quote from Bismarck "Fools learn from their mistakes. Wise men learn from the experiences of others."

During the 60s particularly in 1968 politics became very polarized and f
Tom Gase
Jul 10, 2010 Tom Gase rated it did not like it
Instead of Boom!, this book should have been called Now!. I picked up this book after looking at it in bookstores for almost two years. I loved Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation, so I said, "Why not?" This book I didn't like as much, however, because it was a little misleading. Not as much about the sixties, as much as what people from the sixties are doing now. I thought this would be a nice history book about the decade from 1960 to 1969. The author even has THAT different, saying the decad ...more
Jim B
May 15, 2012 Jim B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history
Everyone should read this book. Everyone who lived through the sixties should read it to get a perspective on those years; everyone else should read it so they don't over simplify what happened. Tom Brokow does a skillful job -- he interviews people who held opposite / disagreeing perspectives. He writes with sympathy and yet does not withhold his own judgments when people went too far:
free speech defenders refusing to condemn filthy language
antiwar people who abused those in military service

Toby Zidle
Dec 10, 2013 Toby Zidle rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Student's of the 60s
Recommended to Toby by: My wife, who read the book before I did.
I loved Tom Brokaw's newscasting and reporting style. I can't say as much for his writing. I found it rather dry and often preachy. It seemed overly repetitious. The book could have been better with 200 fewer pages.

I'm about Brokaw's age. I went to college and started my professional career in the 60s. I passed my draft physical and was classified 1-A for the draft until my employer got me a II-A deferment. I remember clearly the events Brokaw writes about.

Yet the book never 'grabbed' me. I ofte
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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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