When did teenage angst and arrogance begin? Many baby boomers, still fighting over the legacy of the 1960s as they lurch toward retirement, think of themselves as products of the rock ’n’ roll rebellion that shattered the bourgeois proprieties of the 1950s. Chronicled in song and witnessed by the new electronic media, the impudent saga of the ’60s counterculture seemed unique.
Jon Savage’s massive new book, “Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture,” provides the prequel. There has in fact been wave after wave of youthful defiance — Savage begins his study in the 19th century — whether idealistic or hedonistic or both. The author of “England’s Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock and Beyond,” Savage seems more at home with popular culture than with the fine arts. Hence the material in “Teenage” on ragtime, swing and the movies is stronger than that on modernist painters and poets.
more from the NY Times Book Review here.