Looking Back: A '50s Feeling

Authors Anne Bernays and Justin Kaplan write a luminous memoir about their mid-century youth

The past is a foreign country," the novelist L.P. Hartley famously observed. "They do things differently there." Well, yes and no. When Anne Bernays and Justin Kaplan decided to write a joint memoir of their lives in the 1950s, they found plenty of differences. That was the decade of McCarthyism, The Lonely Crowd, "I Like Ike" and Sputnik, and of manners and mores that now seem downright quaint. But in Back Then: Two Lives in 1950s New York (Morrow), Bernays and Kaplan (who are wife and husband) also found lines of continuity with the present, and the roots of who they...

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