God Save the Teen
Jon Savage explores the prehistory of postwar youth culture
The Creation of Youth Culture
by Jon Savage
$29.95 List Price
Smart lyrics, dopey melodies: That's the formula of some of the most famed rock songs of all time. It's also a combination found in that publishing phenomenon, the cultural history: a clever story about the origin of a fun, simple thing. Bookstore shelves groan with histories of the smile, of laughter, of pigeons, of the penis, of tears, of coffee, of snobbery, of disgust (as a writer in Manhattan, I was drawn to the last three for personal reasons).
Jon Savage's Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture appears to be of a piece with these other tomes. It deals with a topic that can be frivolous, mundane, or generic—the history of adolescent culture. But where many of the books bearing the tag line "a cultural history of" have no organizing principle, all 576 pages of Teenage are driven by a few distinct arguments.
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