Reviews/ The Best of Times: Motifs from Postwar America-Reflections on Nostalgia

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“It is a rare piece of writing that combines engaging ideas with compelling images and lyrical style. I have long admired Wyn Wachhorst’s ability to do just that, and this collection―award-winning, some noted in Best American Essays―is surely his finest work yet.”

―Donald Kennedy, president emeritus of Stanford University and past editor in chief of Science

“Interweaving autobiographical pieces with a wide range of sources and imagery, Wachhorst’s powerful prose evidences a deep understanding of nostalgia―both as an abstract concept and as an intensely personal experience.”

―Janelle Wilson, author of Nostalgia: Sanctuary of Meaning

“Nostalgia is typically an old person’s pleasure and crutch, but Wyn Wachhorst makes backward looking a cause of contemplation, reflection, and analysis. “Nostalgia,” he rightly says, “is far more than a wallowing in fruitless regret.” As he looks back at his life and the America in which he grew up, he takes the measure of postwar American culture and shows us what it was like to come of age during the formerly derided decade of the 1950s. This book is not merely one man’s memoir. Interweaving memories of his life with discussions of larger subjects, he shows us, soberly, rather than sentimentally, what our country was once like.”

―Willard Spiegelman, editor in chief, Southwest Review

“Among the losses Wyn Wachhorst so movingly chronicles in these essays, the retreat from manned space exploration was perhaps the most serious. His comments are spot on.”

―Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut

“The baseball essay certainly belongs with these other great takes on nostalgia. Wachhorst takes me back to the joys of the game, to the days when I played the game and why I loved it. Baseball. Nothing like it.”

―Pete Rose

“Wachhorst sketches the pioneer figures and inaugural scenes of the folk revival of the nineteen-fifties in a way readers interested in it will recognize; but no other writer has so vividly recalled to life the excitement and delight, the romance and sheer transport we found in these singers and songs, in whom the old folk America seemed more real and immediate than the new mad America history had prepared for us.”

―Robert Cantwell, author of When We Were Good: The Folk Revival

“I read Wyn Wachhorst’s essays with a warm and melancholy feeling, reflecting on my own youth, feeling fortunate that I had grown up when I did, finding meaning to experiences that I had only thought of as good times.”

―William H. Davidow, author of Overconnected: The Promise and Threat of the Internet