Sunday, June 09, 2024

Pg. 99: Tom McGrath's "Triumph of the Yuppies"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Triumph of the Yuppies: America, the Eighties, and the Creation of an Unequal Nation by Tom McGrath.

About the book, from the publisher:
The “entertaining and insightful” first history of the Yuppie phenomenon, chronicling the roots, rise, triumph and (seeming) fall of the young urban professionals who radically altered American life between 1980 and 1987 (New York Times bestselling author Ben Mezrich).

By the time their obituary was being written in the late 1980s, Yuppies—the elite, uber‑educated faction of the Baby Boom generation—had become a cultural punchline. But amidst the Yuppies' preoccupation with money, work, and the latest status symbols, something serious was happening, too, something that continues to have profound ramifications on American culture four decades later.

Brimming with lively and nostalgic details (think Jane Fonda, The Sharper Image, and over-the-top fashion), Triumph of the Yuppies charts Boomers' transformation from hippy idealists in the late 1960s to careerists in the early 1980s, and details how marketers, the media, and politicians pivoted to appeal to this influential new group. Yuppie values had an undeniable impact on the worlds of fashion, food, and fitness, as well as affecting the broader culture—from gentrification and an obsession with career success to an indulgent materialism. Most significantly, the me‑first mindset typical of Yuppieness helped create the largest income inequality in a century.

Tom McGrath’s masterful cultural history reveals how Yuppies reshaped American society. It is a portrait of America just as it was beginning to come apart—and the origin story of the fractured country we live in today.
Visit Tom McGrath's website.

The Page 99 Test: Triumph of the Yuppies.

--Marshal Zeringue