Talking 'Bout Their Generation

We have come to think of teenagers as a breed apart — ask any parent of one. But as a driver of culture, as a consumer niche, as a state of contrariness, the subspecies known as teenager wasn't even identified until World War II, the point at which British music writer Jon Savage's fascinating new book, Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture 1875-1945, ends. His 576-page trawl through the social commentary, memoirs and reportage of Europe and the U.S. in those decades shows how all the indicators of modern youth culture — the generational antagonism, the moral panics, the idealism, the...

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