Balsamic Dreams

Balsamic Dreams

A Short But Self-Important History of the Baby Boomer Generation

By Joe Queenan

Henry Holt and Co., Hardcover, 9780805067200, 224pp.

Publication Date: June 1, 2001


The author of the bestselling Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon takes aim at the boomer generation in a hilarious work of social commentary.

It's become fashionable to vilify baby boomers. Professional iconoclast and baby boomer Joe Queenan, however, takes a somewhat more benign position: Yes, the baby boomers are venal, self-obsessed egomaniacs blighted by an insalubrious interest in things like the provenance of their neighbors' balsamic vinegar. But this does not make them the "worst generation" -- it just makes them the most annoying.

In Balsamic Dreams, Queenan chronicles the evolution of his generation and critiques its current condition in chapters such as:

--J'Accuse: a bold indictment of the boomers' greatest transgressions, past and present
--Ten Days That Rocked the World: in which Queenan identifies the precise moments things went awry (#1: the release of Carole King's Tapestry)
--Careful, the Staff Might Hear You: an examination of the unspoken, nefarious alliance between baby boomers and Generation X
--American History: The B-Sides: an alternative version of the Republic as played out with baby boomers in the starring roles

A measured (if a tad cranky) assessment of a generation whose greatest sin lies in confusing lifestyle for life and pop culture for culture, Balsamic Dreams is fresh, funny, and irresistible.

About the Author

Joe Queenan is a contributing editor at GQ and writes the column "Good Fences" for The New York Times. The Author of Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon, he lives in Tarrytown, New York.

Praise For Balsamic Dreams

"I've laughed till it hurt reading Joe Queenan." --Michael Lewis, author of The New New Thing

"When Joe Queenan is good, he's very, very good. But when he's bad, he's a whole lot better." --Newsday

"Half-Calvinist, half-nihilist . . . [He's] outrageously funny." --James Ellroy, author of L.A. Confidential

"Joe Queenan descs on our cultural detritus like an angry cormorant. And I mean that in the best way." --Bill Maher, host of Politically Incorrect

"Somewhere, Mencken is beaming."--Bruce McCall, The New York Times Book Review