Boomer Boys tracks the changing culture of the 1950s and the years afterwards: a growing affluence for much of American society, the teen culture asserting its independence, and ominous threats of the bomb and product and environmental pollution.
The book also traces the story of Paul and George Buchheit and their two sisters who, at a young age, found themselves without a father. Their mother struggled to keep the family intact, while the children grew up in a northside Chicago neighborhood shaped by family culture and a Catholic school environment. The book passes back and forth between images of the 1950s, from Chevy tail fins to rock and roll, to fights in the schoolyard and a growing awareness of the adult world and its sometimes threatening ways.
When George and I weren’t playing baseball on summer evenings, we were sitting with the neighborhood kids on the steps of Farnsworth public school, emotionless, silent, staring at the sidewalk, ignoring all those around us. The cool guys in the group could do this for several minutes at a stretch. George and I were on the fringe of the group, feeling pretty good about ourselves since no one had told us to leave. I watched a cool guy light up a Lucky, looking bored. He occasionally took a casual swig from a bottle of Coke. I honed my communication skills watching this group. And I tried hard to look the part.
Chapter 2 – The Unique Culture of the 50s
Chapter 3 – The Military: Dangerous Times
Chapter 4 – Automobiles: Start of a Love Affair
Chapter 5 – Television Takes Over
Chapter 6 – Bad Habits: Eating, Drinking, Smoking
Chapter 7 – Entertainment: Music, Comics, Sports
Chapter 8 – Losing Our Religion
Chapter 9 – Civil Rights: The Beginning
Chapter 10 – Economics: Prosperity for Many
See our Video Page for videos from the National Archives about the above chapters.
Play our Music Trivia Game.