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The 1950's
The Beat of a Different Drum - Rebels of the Nifty Fifties

The Beat of a Different Drum - Rebels of the Nifty Fifties
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.57

     challenging words:    appliance-filled, beatnik, bongo, image-conscious, maelstrom, nonconformist, simplistic, spacey, subculture, cynical, disdain, morphed, novelist, implication, froth, sync
     content words:    United States, West Coast, New York, Jack Kerouac, Poet Allen Ginsberg, San Francisco, Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg

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The Beat of a Different Drum - Rebels of the Nifty Fifties
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     The culture of the 1950s was a complex blend of viewpoints. The trauma of WWII had left its mark upon Americans of all types. In the hearts of many, the suffering of the Depression years lurked just below the surface. The majority of people wanted desperately to believe that such tragedies were anomalies, just odd bumps on an otherwise sunny path to the good life.
2     At first, this faith seemed justified. The "bad news forties" faded away and the fifties dawned with the promise of peace and prosperity. But this sunny prospect was dampened almost immediately by events taking place on the other side of the world. The two halves of Korea were at war with each other. This conflict would seem barely worth mentioning in the United States, which had emerged from WWII as a major player on the world scene.
3     Yet somehow this war in a backward country in a small corner of Asia was a lightning rod for dangerous hostilities between the world's most powerful countries. It wasn't just the prospect of war that caused people to lie awake at night. It was the creeping fear of a scientific Frankenstein. Man had formulated a monster, a weapon capable of annihilating whole cities, even nations. The weapon, if heedlessly used, could conceivably wipe out the entire human race. The awesome power of this marvel had been demonstrated in 1945. Two big cities in Japan had been reduced to rubble by atomic bombs dropped by U.S. planes.

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The 1950's
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