Lost Generation

Last Updated: Mar. 12, 2008

The Lost Generation (Nomad, born 1883–1900) grew up amidst urban blight, unregulated drug use, child “sweat shops,” and massive immigration. Their independent, streetwise attitude lent them a “bad kid” reputation. After coming of age as “flaming youth,” doughboys, and flappers, they were alienated by a war whose homecoming turned sour. Their young-adult novelists, barnstormers, gangsters, sports stars, and film celebrities gave the roar to the ‘20s. The Great Depression hit them in midlife, at the peak of their careers. The “buck stopped” with their pugnacious battlefield and homefront managers of a hot war—and their frugal and straight-talking leaders of a new “cold” one. As elders, they paid high tax rates to support their world-conquering juniors, while asking little for themselves. (AMERICAN: Harry Truman, Irving Berlin, George Patton, Mae West, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong; FOREIGN: Adolph Hitler, Mao Zedong)

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