IMA Book Addict! Excerpt of the Day from: The Way We Never Were – American Families and the Nostalgia Trap


“Contrary to popular opinion, “Leave It To Beaver” was not a documentary…A full 25 percent of Americans, forty to fifty million people, were poor in the mid-1950’s, and in the absence of food stamps and housing programs, this poverty was searing. Even at the end of the 1950’s, a third of American children were poor. Sixty percent of Americans over sixty-five had incomes below $1,000 in 1958, considerably below the $3,000 to $10,000 level considered to represent middle-class status. A majority of elders also lacked medical insurance…Even when we consider only native-born, white families, one-third could not get by on the income of the household head.”

Excerpt from, The Way We Never Were by Stephanie Coontz

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