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.
"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