Sunday, March 1, 2015

Review: Boomers Grow Up

Victor E. Brooks' "Boomers: The Cold-War Generation Grows Up" is a quick, but compelling read. With less than 200 pages, it is packed with historical, demographic and cultural insights about the "largest generation," if not "The Greatest."

Returning World War II veterans set about creating families - in many cases large families - and embarked on an unprecedented path for America. In the 18 years that followed the end of World War II, about 77 million babies were born. While some feared the war's end would return the United States and the world to the Great Depression days, the opposite occurred. Boomers and their parents created enormous wealth and prosperity.

Brooks, a professor of historical foundations at Pennsylvania's Villanova University, details the cultural, economic, political, religious and geographic factors that shaped Boomers' lives and attitudes. For Boomers, the book is a walk down "memory lane." For everyone, the book is a "must read" to prepare for the tsunami of Boomers headed into retirement. It gives insights into the challenges and potentials that loom ahead for those providing services to aging Boomers and for companies hoping to capitalize on the generation's enormous and continuing spending potential.

Boomers - people born between 1946 and 1964 - are about 77 million strong. The generation often has been described as the "pig in the python" -- the big lump that moves along the demographic line. The "lump" once filled the nation's schools, later swelled the labor force and then super-heated the consumer economy. The first Boomer will turn 65 in 2011. Already someone in the United States is turning 65 years old every seven seconds. Social Security is reeling from the leading edge of this Boomer wave.

Boomers are expected to be the healthiest, most active, affluent and long-living group of retirees. Are we prepared to meet their demands and needs? Brooks' book helps us prepare.

This review was written by John Hardisty for To read more about this book, go to

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