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Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875 - 1945 [Hardcover]

Jon Savage
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 April 2007
In 1945, just as the war was ending, 'the teenager' arrived. This is the story of how we got to that moment - the century and a half of ferment, folly, and angst that created a separate Teen Age in Europe and America. Jon Savage goes back to 1875 (when the first bestselling teenage memoir appeared and the first teenage mass murderer was tried), and takes us all the way through to the death of Anne Frank. In between, we roam London, New York, Paris and Berlin with hooligans, Apaches, and other gangs; explore free love with Rupert Brooke and eternal youth with Peter Pan; see commerce and advertising grab a new market and watch the relentless militarisation of youth, from the Boy Scouts to the Hitler Youth. Savage describes all ranks and kinds of people, from flappers and zootsuiters to the Bright Young Things, the unemployed and the Lost Generation. The book rings with music, from Ragtime to Swing, and the stories come fast and furious, comic, poignant, painfully moving. Following the endless efforts of adults to contain, channel and control youth and the ideals and rebellion of young people determined to make their own way, "Teenage" covers two world wars - one which obliterated the dreams of a romantic generation; the other which unleashed the power of America - and the teenager - on the world. This brilliant mix of wide-ranging research, fast narrative and penetrating analysis, stands entirely alone. It will startle, disturb and amaze, opening readers' eyes to a history never described before.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; First Edition edition (5 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701163615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701163617
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 5.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 878,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"... vital, wide-ranging, genre-defying read... a timely reminder that teenagers are not just our future, but our past and inescapable present" -- Daily Telegraph, April 14, 2007

"As vivid, as brilliant and compelling - and persuasive - as its
subject" -- GQ

"Jon Savage is a star...necessary and illuminating" -- Times

"Savage dissects the teen dream and the role industrialisation,
democratisation and the media played in shaping its identity. And he does
so with all the urgency, flair and vitality he argues was lost when
purchasing power became the ultimate teen goal"
-- Metro, April 23, 2007

"Savage has produced a book that may well change how people think about teenagers" -- Guardian, April 14, 2007

'Consistently fascinates' -- The Herald

'He pulls together the most disparate materials, British, American, German, and French, in an engaging fashion.'
-- TLS

A "fascinating, engrossing book" -- Mojo Magazine

`Ambitious, evocative and wide-ranging "pre-history"...' -- Evening Standard

`Painstakingly researched and far reaching `pre-history of the
teenager'... Savage still shows himself to be one of the most skilful
exponents around' -- New Statesman

Book Description

This is the untold account of how the twentieth century became the century of Youth - a stunning combination of research, vivid stories and penetrating insight. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WRITES OF PASSAGE 6 May 2008
In 'England's Dreaming' Jon Savage explored the Britain of the 70s which gave birth to the Sex Pistols and Punk Rock in it's wider social, cultural and political context. In 'Teenage: The Creation of Youth - 1875-1945' Savage does the same thing but this time in respect to the emergence of youth culture in the first place.

Savage starts the book in his introduction by informing the reader that this is a 'prehistory of the teenager.' Inspired by Dick Hebdige's influential study 'Subculture-The Meaning of Style,' and by his own experience of the Punk scene in 70s London, Savage explains how he sought to discover the roots of what today we take for granted: namely the idea of adolescence as a seperate stage of life between childhood and adulthood, a specific cohort with loyalties to peer-group norms rather than those established by their parents and their parents culture.

Savage takes us on a tour which includes..... Fin De Siecle Paris, the waning power of Imperial Great Britain, the emerging militaristic power of Germany, juvenile delinquency, Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde, 'Hooligans,' The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, G. Stanley Hall, Boy Scouts, Ragtime, Nickelodeans, Dance Halls, World War 1, Secularism, Jazz, 20s Berlin, Prohibition, 'Flappers,' Valentino, Hollywood, the spread of secondary and tertiary education, Leopold and Loeb, Clara Bow, 'It Girls,' the Charleston, Harlem, Jimmy Cagney, the Nazi Youth, the Depression of the 30s, Zoot Suits, French Zazou's, World War 2..... and much, much more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teenage Kicks 25 Nov 2010
By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whilst modern folk lore hast it teenagers were in invented in the USA after the Second World War was won, Jon Savage has undertaken some urban archaeology to do some sifting and excavating to deliver truth.

Formerly the great and the good within sociology have concentrated a focus on defining the "normal;" alternatively viewed as the grunts who put in the shifts in to make the economic wheels turn, this book explores the lives of the "freaks". These are the young people who lived on the edge of "normal" existence, shunned by the mainstream whilst inhabiting a mayfly existence before they snap. The normals fear the freaks because the latter highlight the tedium of being a square.

Castigated for breaking all moral adult taboos, previous social restraints and the sacred codes those who need to believe in such ideologies find socially acceptable. Eventually the gangs are shunted out of the mainstream into early deaths, gravitate into criminal enterprises or eventually feted as prodigal sons/daughters after rejoining the flock and fold to engage in middle aged idiocy.

So the author travels back to the Victorian era, traversing the world in finding early signs of dissent and debauchery. Gently unpicking the sanitised versions of history, sanctified by pious Marxists who wish to deify the dignity of labour and the knee scraping penitents clinging to the belief life is better in the after life. Therefore why make ripples in this one? Christian Salvationists were the great enemy of youth cultures. Each adult discourse has colluded to back-fill history, who along with the free marketeers who wish to ensure progress is marked with constant diligence and drudgery.
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