November 22, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

Outside the Gates of Eden: The Dream of America from Hiroshima to Now

Outside the Gates of Eden: The Dream of America from Hiroshima to Now

Peter Bacon Hales

Language: English

Pages: 496

ISBN: 0226313158

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Exhilaration and anxiety, the yearning for community and the quest for identity: these shared, contradictory feelings course through Outside the Gates of Eden, Peter Bacon Hales’s ambitious and intoxicating new history of America from the atomic age to the virtual age.
Born under the shadow of the bomb, with little security but the cold comfort of duck-and-cover, the postwar generations lived through—and led—some of the most momentous changes in all of American history. Hales explores those decades through perceptive accounts of a succession of resonant moments, spaces, and artifacts of everyday life—drawing unexpected connections and tracing the intertwined undercurrents of promise and peril. From sharp analyses of newsreels of the first atomic bomb tests and the invention of a new ideal American life in Levittown; from the music emerging from the Brill Building and the Beach Boys, and a brilliant account of Bob Dylan’s transformations; from the painful failures of communes and the breathtaking utopian potential of the early days of the digital age, Hales reveals a nation, and a dream, in transition, as a new generation began to make its mark on the world it was inheriting.
Full of richly drawn set-pieces and countless stories of unforgettable moments, Outside the Gates of Eden is the most comprehensive account yet of the baby boomers, their parents, and their children, as seen through the places they built, the music and movies and shows they loved, and the battles they fought to define their nation, their culture, and their place in what remains a fragile and dangerous world.

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secret of the atom’s mighty power.”17 This was the other narrative of the atomic age: dire warnings of vulnerability, devastation, the erasure of past stabilities, memories, promises. School chairs streaked with dazzling light, the schoolchildren vaporized, their innocence betrayed; everything strong and invulnerable rendered weak, useless. But shaping the atomic story was an incomplete process, not a duality but a dialectic: science still seeks to uncover the complete secret of the atom’s

increasingly engrossing world, exploring every nook and cranny, taking every path, until you ran out of real estate. Zork! celebrated that combination of immersive and imaginative life. When the game’s success prompted competitors to mine Adventure for their own versions, they sought to best the original by replacing the text-based play with some form of graphical experience. Zork!’s parent company, Info-com, responded by releasing a series of ads declaring the superiority of visual imagination

conditions, a new genre would have to appear, one that recast the imaginative map to include, even feature the suburban landscape, one that could redefine rural life so that its cultural messages, its heritage of values and beliefs, could carry forward into postwar life; one in which the city might be reimagined as well. Miracle was the first; it defined a generation of suburban idylls in movies and television from plot and characters to settings and camera angles and the most mundane of props.

movement. See commune movement Baez, Joan, 259, 262–63, 263, 264 Balance of Power (video game), 402, 408; sales numbers, 460n14 “Ballad of a Thin Man” (Dylan, Bob), 283 Ball, Lucille, 165, 182; plays with mirror-image of real and televised lives, 186–87; acts out ideal nuclear family, 187 Band, The, 282–83 Barry, Jeff, 239, 243, 246–47 Baxter, Jeff “Skunk,” plays with Jimi Hendrix, 294 Beach Boys, The, 247–53, 405; album art, 248, 249, 250 Beauvoir, Simone de, 314 Beatles, The, 255–56,

again, see the streets in the way that first generation understood them to be. Tricycle races and roving bike gangs, kickball and baseball and capture the flag and ringolevio all played out across the seven-striped flags of the streetscape: front lawns, sidewalks, grass-and-curb transitions, then the street, then on the other side curb, sidewalk, and opposite front lawn. Cars parked in front of the houses only made the games more interesting, breaking up the space in unpredictable ways,

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