THE DECADE MATRIX

``America is a culture whose identity is best found in time,'' asserts Gollub, a gerontologist, and that is precisely where he searches for it here, examining seven ``generations'' from the ``Children of the Century,'' born between 1900 and 1909, to the ``Techno-Kids'' born in the 1960's. Gollub's reason for using decades to divide age groups is not clear but appears to be based partly on convenience. It's certainly tidy, but societies don't necessarily shift gears with such regularity. His approach, dubbed the Life Span Framework, considers so-called Time Signatures, the key historical events that have affected each decade's cohorts; their Birthmarks, or representative personality types; Rites of Passage, significant stages in their personal development; and their Weather Report, that is, the economic, cultural, social, political, and technological conditions that shape their values. Gollub tracks the life story of each generation in a sort of vest-pocket cultural history of 20th-century America, and he includes profiles of representative personality types for each group. Finally, he takes a stab at forecasting what the future holds for each group and its specific personality types. His writing smacks of the lingo of market research reports. Catchy names abound; e.g., the four personality types of the Techno-Kids are labeled the 'Billy Budds,' the 'Cosmopolitans,' the 'Missing Ingredients,' and the 'Keepers of the Flame.' Entertaining but repetitious: market research demographics and pop history, dressed up with some basic sociology and psychology.

Pub Date: May 23, 1991

ISBN: 0-201-15788-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1991

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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