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Social Sciences - Population Studies | The Lucky Few

The Lucky Few

Between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boom

Carlson, Elwood

2008, XX, 216 p.

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  • Innovative comparisons of all seven generations of Americans living in the 20th century
  • Extensive original findings for useful reference based on new Census Public Use Samples
  • Written in a non-technical style for scholars and students as well as  for general readers

Born during the Great Depression and World War Two (1929 – 1945) - between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boom - an entire generation has slipped between the cracks of history. Yet behind the scenes, these Lucky Few became the first American generation smaller than the one before them, and the luckiest generation of Americans ever. As children they experienced the most stable intact parental families in the nation’s history. Lucky Few women married earlier than any other generation of the century and helped give birth to the Baby Boom, yet also gained in education compared to earlier generations. Lucky Few men made the greatest gains of the century in schooling, earned veterans benefits like the Greatest Generation but served mostly in peacetime with only a fraction of the casualties, came closest to full employment, and spearheaded the trend toward earlier retirement. More than any other generation, Lucky Few men advanced into professional and white-collar jobs while Lucky Few women concentrated in the clerical "pink-collar ghetto." Even in retirement and old age the Lucky Few remain in the right place at the right time. Here is their story, and the story of how they have affected other recent generations of Americans before and since.

"Carlson’s work provides an examination of a previously neglected generation while at the same time teaching us how important generational location in general is in determining life chances. It will be a treasured work for the scholars in this area". Steve H. Murdock, Director, U.S. Census Bureau

"Carlson makes the issue of a cohort and cohort analysis come alive". Dudley L. Poston, Jr., Texas A&M University

"The richly documented account of the varying fates of American generations, based chiefly on IPUMS data, provides a fresh perspective on the history of the United States in the twentieth century. This book will become a classic of historical sociology". Steven Ruggles, Director, IPUMS Project

"As a member of the Lucky Few generation, I salute Woody Carlson's masterful analysis of this nearly forgotten cohort of Americans". John Weeks, San Diego State University

Content Level » Research

Keywords » American generations - Baby Boom - Carlson - Census - Greatest Generation - IPUMS data - Lucky Few - Richard Easterlin - Sociology - U.S. History - cohort analysis

Related subjects » Population Economics - Population Studies - Social Sciences

Table of contents 

List of figures.- Author’s preface.- Introduction.- Chapter One: Who are the Lucky Few?.- Chapter Two: Generations of the Twentieth Century.- Chapter Three: Unlikely Origins.- Chapter Four: Growing Up Golden.- Chapter Five: Peacetime Patriots.- Chapter Six: High Road to Money and Power.- Chapter Seven: At the Heart of the Silent Majority.- Chapter Eight: The Lucky Few in Black and White.- Chapter Nine: The Best Time to Retire.- Chapter Ten: Could It Happen Again?

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