Mack W. Borgen is a graduate of Harvard Law School and a national award-winning author for his first two volumes of Dead Serious and Lighthearted - The Memorable Words of Modern America and for his prior books, The Relevance of Reason (Vols I and II).
He is a native of Montana and was raised in the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest. Upon graduation from the University of California at Berkeley with Honors in Economics, he delivered one of the last University-wide Commencement Addresses. Then, after graduating from law school, he served more than four years in the U.S. Army.
He lived in Europe for a short period before returning to California and Montana where for years he has simultaneously practiced law and continued to write about various economic, political, and social matters.
In 2008, he partly withdrew from both business and his law practice in order to devote himself to the writing of a long-planned series of books about the current American condition and about how we, together, gently, honorably, and as a country, can do better. In the last four years, he has devoted much of his time to the writing the three volumes of Dead Serious and Lighthearted - The Memorable Words of Modern America. Over his career, Borgen has also taught at various times at Rutgers University (Camden, NJ)(History of the Labor Movement) and the University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA) (History of the Supreme Court), and, more recently, in Santa Barbara, California. He now lives with his wife and son in Santa Barbara, California. Mack W. Borgen's blogs and excerpts from his other writings and speeches may be viewed at mackwborgen.com.
Borgen first books, The Relevance of Reason - The Hard Facts and Real Data about the State of Current America (Volume I)(Business and Politics) and Volume II (Society and Culture) (2013) won numerous book awards and recognitions including Best Business Book of the Year (First Runner-Up)(2014 Los Angeles Book Festival) (Vol I); Award Finalist in Political Science (ForeWord Review) (2014) (Vol. I); Best Book of the Year (Popular Culture) (Bronze Award Winner)(Vol II) (2014); and Award Finalist - Eric Hofer National Book Contest (Vol II) (2014).
“Borgen (The Relevance of Reason, 2013) bravely undertakes the herculean task of presenting an overview of recent U.S. history... Crucially, the author follows each of these entries (of the Memorable Words from Speeches, Books, Writings, and Other Sources) with a concise explanation of 'context, meaning, and impact' ... (T)he volume retains a depth that goes far beyond simple nostalgia. The work's approach to the study of history may inspire the search for commonalities without erasing differences. ... A solid and entertaining reference book packed with cultural highlights and pivotal moments from a wide array of sources.”
– Kirkus Reviews
This first installment of an American history series covers 1957 to 1976.
Borgen (The Relevance of Reason, 2013) bravely undertakes the herculean task of presenting an overview of recent U.S. history. In the book’s early chapters, it is clear that he recognizes the challenges inherent in curating such a gargantuan project, taking great pains to justify the setting of parameters. First, the author neatly summarizes the problematic nature of history as a discipline of study. Even the choice of an official start date for what he terms Modern America is a cause for much understandable hand-wringing. He eventually settles on his selection: “In 1957, even amidst the consumerism, confidence, and enthusiasm for all things American, the ferment of change was starting. The winds of change were everywhere.” Borgen also points to the cultural effects of increased life expectancy, whereby four generations coexist, often uneasily, which creates room for misunderstandings and frames of reference that do not match up neatly, a phenomenon that he terms “multi-generational ignorance.” Thus, the author asserts, this project can serve a dual purpose: A younger audience encounters information perhaps for the first time, and older readers revisit past memories, with both groups hopefully gaining a broader perspective. As Borgen begins to move through the designated years, some portions of the text have the feel of an almanac, with lists that include bestselling books, Oscar-nominated films, highly rated television programs, and popular slogans from the worlds of politics and advertising. But each year also features a more substantive section titled “Memorable Words from Speeches, Books, Writings, and Other Sources.” Crucially, the author follows each of these entries with a concise explanation of “context, meaning, and impact.” Likewise, he includes information about seminal books that appeared within the same year, at times producing delightful juxtapositions like these three titles from 1957: Atlas Shrugged, On the Road, and The Cat in the Hat. While readers may notice the occasional minor error—such as rendering the TV series Charlie’s Angels as “Charley’s Angels”—the volume retains a depth that goes far beyond simple nostalgia. The work’s approach to the study of history may inspire the search for commonalities without erasing differences. As a bonus, Borgen provides helpful ancillary resources, including an index, 376 endnotes, and many appendices.
A solid and entertaining reference book packed with cultural highlights and pivotal moments from a wide array of sources.
Pub Date: March 27, 2018
Page count: 526pp
Publisher: Schmitt & Brody Publishers
Review Posted Online: July 26, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018
Santa Barbara, California (and Bigfork, Montana)
William Manchester; David Halberstam; Stephen Ambrose, e.e. cummings; Will and Ariel Durant
The Glory and the Dream by William Manchester
Attorney; Writer; and Speaker
Favorite line from a book
You will do crazy things in your life, but do them with enthusiasm.
Unexpected skill or talent
Believing (passionately) that some day I will discover one ...
Passion in life
Trying to be a good husband, a good father, and a steady and welcoming friend to all .. and hiking the trails of Northwestern Montana
DEAD SERIOUS AND LIGHTHEARTED: THE MEMORABLE WORDS OF MODERN AMERICA: Best Book of the Year (General Nonfiction)(2nd Place) San Francisco Book Festival, 2018
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