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Tell It to the Future
Francine R. Cefola and Bobbi R. Madry

Isn't it interesting that in the typical public school scenario, "social studies" classes mostly examine history on a grand scale—this war, that treaty, this invasion, and so on and so forth? The point is, there wasn't much actual 'studying of society' happening in those classes.

That's where Tell It To The Future comes in. Published by Golden Quill Press, the book is really a compilation of several short non-fiction essays that document the decades of the 20th century in chronological order. Each chapter begins with an informative timeline and an introduction to the decade as well as the essay's author (ranging in age from 18 to 93).

Tell It To The Future is meant to convey the grand old tradition of story-telling while adhering to a historical perspective. First-person essays recalling the varying decades are the meat and potatoes of this book. Through these entries, we are allowed a glimpse at a microcosm of history. What's examined here is history's audience and how they lived, how ordinary people existed from day to day, what it felt like to be alive while major world events were happening. This book is as much about how people washed their clothes in the early 1900s as it is about the more dramatic experience of losing a boyfriend to a World War.

Some of the most intriguing tales describe the simplest of activities: playing street games in the city, taking turns bathing in a tub behind the kitchen stove, gathering around "the magic box" to watch the first television shows. A good number of the stories illustrate a childhood innocence juxtaposed against faint recollections of major world events—a World War, Vietnam protests, Watergate, the birth of the world's first test-tube baby.

Tell It To The Future is a delightful read in that it takes a closer look at 'social studies' than our history books ever did. Although the writing and editing often seem amateurish at best, the style reinforces the book's homegrown tone and genuine attempt to tell the tale of the 20th century from those who lived through it.

-Danielle Bernato


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Tell It To The Future

 


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