SIXTIES PEOPLE by Jane & Michael Stern Stern


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Another pleasant skip down Memory Lane with the husband-and-wife Sterns, who here--as in their best-selling Elvis World (1987)--punch up their pop anthropologizing with plenty of snappy photos (100 b&w, 50 color). ""We are sixties people,"" the Sterns begin, and indeed the accompanying 1966 pix of the two--Michael in Beatlelike locks and shades, Jane with hippie-length hair--bear out that claim. So does the roughly chronological, bright text, spotlighting several sorts of Sixties' folk--beginning with that pixielike post-50's species, ""Perky Girls,"" who ""personify that giddy time after Eisenhower when the world seemed to bubble over with endless expectations of good things to come."" Like most of the types remembered here, the perky girl was characterized not only by demeanor (""She loves life. She lives joyously""), but also by looks (""She has a long flip with a left part and full bangs brushed to the right""). Goldie Hawn was a perky girl, as was the young Jane Fonda; Nancy Sinatra wasn't (""No matter how hard she frugged. . .she appeared to be a grim individual""). The ultimate perky girl? Mary Tyler Moore. The perky girl's partner was the next type the Sterns examine, the ""Playboy,"" epitomized by--who else?--Hugh Hefner. Lurking in the shadows, though, were the ""Young Vulgarians""--incarnate in all-female singing groups like the Ronettes--and ""Folkniks,"" who, after the passing away of ""Surfers, Twisters, and Party Animals,"" and the invasion of the ""English,"" made way for ""Hippies"" and ""Rebels"" (Black Panthers, Hell's Angels, the Weather Underground, etc.). Of course, throughout the decade there persisted ""Mr. and Mrs. Average,"" who ""endured the chaos of the decade"" by clinging to 50's values, and whose tenacious Middle American odyssey closes this fond account. Under the Sterns' bouncing baton, the personalities, fashions, arts, politics, and assorted other cultural expressions blend into a lighthearted memorial chorus that many--especially those who lived through that ""thrilling"" decade--will enjoy.

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 1990
Publisher: Knopf