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Teenagers: An American History

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  8 reviews
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 auth ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 20th 1997 by Basic Books (first published May 16th 1996)
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Adam
Apr 15, 2022 rated it really liked it
About as good as you could expect a secular historian to write about the subject. The goal in the writing style here is to accurately represent the sentiments of teenagers as the category develops over the course of the 20th century. Research is extensive and the book breezes by. Sources are taken from teenagers as they respond to various cultural shifts and events, and you also get a clear understanding of what “adults” were thinking at each step. You see the inevitable decline as "adults" star ...more
Stephen Adkison
Sep 25, 2020 rated it liked it
A pretty good an enlightening early history of “teenagers” from 1900-60s. It focuses a bit too much on pop culture and music trends (epiphenomena), and too little on the underlying economic and political changes that led to these realities.

Knocked down a whole star for the awful, reactionary conclusion that seems at odds with the good history present in the rest of the book. I don’t know how, after seeing the development of teenagers in the 20th century, you’d conclude that kids these days have
...more
Robert Danton
Oct 20, 2022 rated it it was amazing
enjoyed
Ken Dowell
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
A history that starts with the Depression as 13-19 year olds (no one called them teenagers then) are freed from the traditional burden of getting a job to help the family because there are no jobs. It continues to the 1970’s at which point teenagers have fully achieved a kind of self-determination as far as culture and identity is concerned. The economy plays an important role throughout, not just tough times, but prosperity, which is a prerequisite to cars and clothes and records. The author al ...more
Morgan Williams
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book thinking I'd get a better grasp on why some of today's teenagers act the way they do, in hopes I might be able to relate to them more. I'm not sure I got all of that from it, but it's probably because this was published in 1996. Still, the main concepts apply, and have helped me realize how much things stay the same even as they change. Palladino inspects the multifaceted lives of teenagers and in the process enables the reader to empathize with them, even if you are unable ...more
Andrea
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I wish a new chapter was added at the end of the book. The jump from the 60s to the 90s leaves quite a lot of stuff out, and the last chapter reads like a draft. Other than that, brilliant and entertaining read.
Ava
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Read this for my course on Youth and Society. It was all right, very easy to absorb and read quickly but the content was not as gripping as some of the other literature for the class.
Meg
Mar 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-class, history
Written by a Mt. Holyoke graduate! A fascinating and compelling book on the history of the American teenager.
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