Reviewer’s Choice – Midwest Book Review
“NOW They Make it Legal is a fabulous, firmly tongue-in-cheek tour of bygone decades. Award-winning journalist Howard Harrison has crafted a memoir so vivid it’s the next best thing to a time machine. These anecdotes will enlighten, startle, perplex, and inspire readers of all generations.”
Mercurochrome. JFK. Beatlemania. Vietnam. Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll. These are just some of the memories from the Baby Boom era that are captured in NOW they make it legal: Reflections of an aging Baby Boomer. The book traces the evolution of American culture from the “black and white” 1950s through the turbulent 1960s and into the ‘70s, ending in the 1980s “when we began to turn into our parents.” It tells the history of the Baby Boom generation through the eyes of one of the 80 million people born between 1946 and 1964 – the greatest period of population growth in U.S. history. Baby Boomers grew up during a time of great change in America and had a major impact – in music, politics, pop culture and society at large. This nostalgic and fact-filled collection of stories will entertain those who were there, and educate those who weren’t.
The stories in NOW they make it legal are served up chronologically, providing an anthology of significant events in American culture during that time. Beginning with the innocence of childhood in the 1950s – from riding your tricycle to the corner “five-and-dime” to your mother slathering mercury-laden antiseptic on every nick, scrape and cut – the author paints a vivid picture of a bygone era.
The majority of stories occur in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when both the country and the author underwent major transformations. The country got color TV, the Beatles, Medicare and new civil rights legislation. It also suffered assassinations, race riots, war protests and other civil unrest. The decade began with the election of a young, liberal president that gave people hope for the future. It ended with the country badly divided, even while men were walking on the moon.
For the author, the 1960s was the time his childhood shifted to adolescence and he started to become aware of the social and political upheaval going on in the country. Having two older sisters, he got to hear the Beatles before most of his peers and experienced San Francisco during the so-called “summer of love.” The 1970s focus on his college years, with tales of drugs, student protests and America’s Bicentennial highlighting the narrative.
By the 1980s, the “New Right” signaled a shift from the liberal ideals of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Boomers began getting married and having kids of their own. The author declares this the “end of the Boom.” NOW they make it legal conveys a lot of history and nostalgia in very few pages. The seamless juxtaposition of historical facts and personal anecdotes make this an easy, entertaining and informative read.
$14.95 / Perfectbound
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