Beer’s “important...fascinating” book(Los Angeles Times) shows how suburban California came to epitomize the american Dream-until its affluent complacency was shattered by downsizing, anxiety, and distrust.
Beers's poignant, eloquent autobiographical memoir of growing up in Silicon Valley during the 1960s is a stunning eulogy for the middle-class American Dream. His father, Hal, a Lockheed engineer and former navy jet pilot, worked on secret projects designing spy satellites. His mother, Terry, a devout, mystical Catholic often at odds with her scientifically minded, Protestant husband, raised four children in their suburban tract home and "assumed the task of making us not merely Catholic, but Irish Catholic.... In inventing an ethnicity for us, she selected only Irish positives, giving us to understand that we were genetically impish and fun-loving." Beers's parents adopted the widespread faith that America's technological superiority would ensure limitless prosperity, but disillusionment set in as Hal grew disenchanted with a corporate culture of compartmentalization. As a muckraking Mother Jones editor, Beers critiqued the military-industrial complex that assured his father's livelihood. His incisive takes on suburbia, the ever-present seductions of television, Reagan's reinvigoration of the Cold War, Clinton's alleged reneging on the "peace dividend" and the downsizing of corporate America make this a memorable document. Beers is now a freelance journalist based in Vancouver. Photos. First serial to New York Times Magazine; film rights sold to Kennedy-Marshall/Paramount; author tour. (Sept.)