Reflections on a Generous Generation
Reflections on a Generous Generation is a memoir, and a retrospective of the 20th Century. Shared by a generation which was confronted by the Great Depression and World War II, the story tells of the journey, and one man's participation in the events of that time. It also shows the interrelationships of people and events, and how the Generous Generation created the world we live in today. The story shares with you the most important ten decades in world history, the most significant century in America, and the people who embodied "American exceptionalism"-the Generous Generation. The story of Murray Stern is both universal and unique.
Born of immigrant parents, growing up in the Depression, serving in the Army in World War II, and returning to build a business, a family, and a community, he was a participant in the events of his life, not a spectator.
This is a book for history lovers and for the many baby-boomers and their children who have a curiosity about the people who made life in America what it is now, and the lessons to help us move into the future. It tells of success, of enjoyment and of the happiness of "doing" rather than watching. It is about the role models we can aspire to as we plan our "end game."
I enjoyed this book, but my opinion is to read a chapter or two and then come back to it in a day or two to read more. Would be a good book for a history class and one to keep and refer back to and read again.
Most of us have heard of the Greatest Generation, the Americans who lived through the Great Depression and then came of age in the early 1940’s. These men and women answered the call of their country and fought for the freedom of the world in World War II or supported the country in other significant ways during the War.
Author Stern prefers to call this generation the “Generous Generation” and he uses the life of his father to prove his point. Author Stern presents his story by decade. For each new decade he describes the historical events, as well as the interesting and fun events and then shows how his Dad’s life connected with history. This is an effective way for us to learn about a man, and about his times.
Murray Stern, was born in 1911 in New York City and he grew up in the New York area. He lived 98 years and saw many exciting events and innovations, from widespread use of radio, telephone, and cars to our modern world. Mr. Stern was a student of the world. He was a friend, generous, trustworthy and consistent.
Murray Stern attended college and then his mother encouraged him to go to Harvard Business School. Even with a Harvard MBA, during the Depression there were limited opportunities for a Jewish man on Wall Street. So Murray worked in the family clothing business.
The 1940’s were the defining decade for Murray Stern and his generation. He enlisted in the Army, and served as an officer for 3 years and 8 months from Pearl Harbor to the surrender of Japan. Author Stern gives us a great overview of the history of World War II and his Dad’s part in the service.
The 1950’s brought peacetime for Murray Stern and America. Murray became a business man and was known as a fair and honest man. He raised a family and this part of the memoir provides a loving view of life in America in the middle of the Twentieth Century. The author tells us about his Dad’s interests- family, chess, military history, travel, current events, world affairs, business world, social life. I enjoyed seeing the family photographs. Thanks to the Author for sharing them.
The 1970’s were Murray Stern’s best years in business. He had an exciting work life and experienced some important events in Britain as part of his work. Murray Stern retired in the 1990’s. Even after he retired, he ran a library at the Florida retirement community where he resided.
Through the presentation of history, paired with the story of his Dad, Author Stern creates a well-written and enjoyable book. It is good to be reminded that the men and women who were born at the beginning of the last century faced a difficult time in American history. Murray Stern and his fellow Americans grew to adulthood, faced the Great Depression and World War II and then they created a new vision of America.
As Murray Stern believed, “Find something you love, immerse yourself, surround yourself, make it part of yourself. Don’t be a spectator, join in.” I highly recommend this book. I think it would be a positive experience to share this book with your family or in a book club- some kind of environment where you and others could share your personal stories and learn from history and each other.