The Year That Changed Everything

No one knew at the time, but 1948 launched three men toward their destinies

PEOPLE WHO LIVED THROUGH TUMULTUOUS YEARS LIKE 1914 or 1941 or 1968 recognized them at the time for what they were: pivotal and world changing. But sometimes it is only after the passage of a generation or two, as a phase of history rolls on and its direction becomes clearer, that its point of origin emerges. 1948 was one of those years.

The nation turned away from depression and world war to what became America's vast peacetime imperial consumerism--the automobile-and-suburb culture. The baby boom was in utero, or in diapers. George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were approaching the terrible twos....

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