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Heath Street Stories: A Look Back at 1950's Innocence in Suburban America


Heath Street Stories: A Look Back at 1950's Innocence in Suburban America Cover

ISBN13: 9781420896077
ISBN10: 1420896075
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

1950, and the cookie-cutter houses in the slipstream of a paper mill promise new beginnings for the families moving to Heath Street. From the tragicomedy of Atom Bomb drills to the wonder of glitzy gadgetry, Dyanflow transmissions and automatic canasta shuffling machines, everything that makes Made in America the password to the future is reflected in the neighbors' prodigious faith in progress.

On Heath Street the seeds are sown for a generation caught between vanity and self-esteem, humility and confidence, duty and liberation. How far we've come — or have we only just begun the journey?

About the Author

Gehla Knight's work has been published by ACE Books and appeared nationally in Phoenix Magazine and Redbook. She has also served as technical and script consultant for Fox-Regency Film Productions. A fifth-generation Oregonian, she is active in community theater and preservation of pioneer history. Knight is a graduate of Baylor University in Waco, Texas where as a premed student, she acted in many regional theatrical productions and improv theater, working under the tutelage of Charles Laughton. Knight lives in Portland, Oregon, where she manages a Trial Consulting practice and continues to write mysteries and quirky takes on the Northwest retro scene.

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Average customer rating based on 8 comments:

Casandra12, August 12, 2006 (view all comments by Casandra12)
I loved this delightful, warm, humorous look back to a time when my parents were raising America's suburban families hoping to catch the middleclass dream. When a young girl moves from the Oregon forest to a new suburban housing tract, a whole new world of gadgets and postwar optimism colors her outlook. Although the families living on Heath Street are diverse, they all share a common thread -- making a success of their lives through hard work, family values and belief in the power of positive thinking. Zany and most often utterly hilariously entertaining characters add a lovable, endearing portrait of housewifery, the beginnings of the gender divide, Cold War hysterics and feminine wiles at work. This isn't I Love Lucy, it's so much better and funnier and so very real. I recommend it as a mother's or father's day gift to someone who lived through those times and as an eye-opening rollick for the younger generations who wonder what America was like at its height.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
JJNealy, August 1, 2006 (view all comments by JJNealy)
My mom will tell me "I told you so", but I liked the book. It took me awhile to get into it, but then I sort of lost all the generational thing going on between my and my parents and found myself actually caught up in a great trip back to a generation I've only seen portrayed in "drag", like old Lucy reruns et cetera.

Heath Street was a blast -- made me want to take the time to ask my parents a few questions about the Red Scare, the Cold War, the sex and gender biases the book paints so well. I see a lot of similes to the present day and after I finished the book I handed it off to my roommate who doesn't have a clue where he's at or where he came from. I think people who read Heath Street will start with one attitude about the Fifties and their parents world and come away with a whole new appreciation of what it took to get us where we are today -- in another mess, but it's important to know what culture shift was responsible for the attitudes and liberties we are defending today.

The humour is a blast too -- making me laugh at corny people with corny jokes was quite a surprise so don't think this book is only for Boomers. It's not. You could do a thesis on the themes and character studies in Heath St. By the last page, it had me totally won over. And the writing is smooth and natural and sounhds like genuine NW. I rate it a 5 because it takes a really absorbing, good book that can laugh with brains to get my top vote.
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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
Charles Spring/Cal, June 6, 2006 (view all comments by Charles Spring/Cal)
Maybe this little book doesn't have any earth-shattering crises, terrorist plots, incest, drug addiction, murder or similar block-buster plots, but it hits the top of the charts on the list for Funny, Uplifting, Wholesome, Thoughtful, Poignant and extremely worthwhile. I'd almost forgotten what it was like to read a memoir that didn't make me want to take a long, hot shower afterward to rinse off the bad vibes from survivors' tales and hardship. Sure, the heroine of Heath Street has her hard knocks and troubles, but it's all presented in such a kind, insightful way, that I never felt preached to or obligated to wring my hands in sympathy. It's just a lot of fun and a super-duper ride back to a different America I wish I'd lived in.
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Product Details

Knight, Gehla S
Knight, Gehla S.
United States - 20th Century/50s
US History - 20th Century
Publication Date:
9.00x6.00x.82 in. 1.19 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
History and Social Science » American Studies » 50s, 60s, and 70s
History and Social Science » Sociology » American Studies
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General

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