Tom Brokaw, the semi-retired 71-year-old former NBC news anchor, is now the of author of several recent-history chronicles, most notably The Greatest Generation. In The Time Of Our Lives: A Conversation About America, he focuses on the present-day difficulties facing present day America. As usual, he has his peer group firmly in mind, but he also wants to address the nation’s youngest adults. Comparisons to the way things once were inevitably abound, but without becoming overwhelming.
Time Of Our Lives is a survey, not a manifesto. It feels a bit a lot like like the patriarchal rock of the family orchestrating a current-events conversation around the Thanksgiving dinner table. Yet Brokaw has settled easily into his assumed role as a sage elder with Great Plains common sense. What’s the point of it all? he asks early on, for a moment letting his ’60s cultural roots get the best of him. "You are not expected to know," he quotes the late Yale president and baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti, who was speaking to a class of incoming college freshmen. "But you are expected to wish to know."
At 71, Brokaw still wants to know. So do some of the rest of us....
The New Yorker covers: July 2, 1932
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