Quotes from The Fifties

David Halberstam ·  800 pages

Rating: (4.3K votes)


“He did not like Europe, which he regarded as a lesser continent, populated with people significantly greedier and more materialistic than Americans. It was a place, he noted, where”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“They cut the menu from twenty-five items to nine, featuring hamburgers and cheeseburgers, and they made the burgers a little smaller—ten hamburgers from one pound of meat instead of eight.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“One reason that Americans as a people became nostalgic about the fifties more than twenty-five years later was not so much that life was better in the fifties (though in some ways it was), but because at the time it had been portrayed so idyllically on television.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“As he found beauty in the hamburger, he thought hot dogs unattractive—both aesthetically and commercially.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“Under enemy-alien status, as his biographer Robert Chadwell Williams has pointed out, he could not own a car or join a British Civil Defense team, but he could in time work on the most secret aspects of atomic physics.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties



“It requires a certain kind of mind to see the beauty in a hamburger bun.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“She hated that many of her colleagues hid behind the title “Planned Parenthood.” That was a euphemism. “It irks my very soul and all that is Irish in me to acquiesce to the appeasement group that is so prevalent in our beloved organization,” she wrote.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“Anybody is a damn fool if he actually seeks to be President,” he told friends. “You give up four of the very best years of your life. Lord knows it’s a sacrifice. Some people think there is a lot of power and glory attached to the job. On the contrary the very workings of a democratic system see to it that the job has very little power.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“Asked about the role of America’s newspaper publishers, later, when they opposed him editorially, he answered, “Their job is to separate the wheat from the chaff and then print the chaff.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“When his troops reached the rocket camp, they found almost everything of value gone and Stalin was reportedly furious. “This is absolutely intolerable,” he said, according to reliable defectors. “We defeated Nazi armies; we occupied Berlin and Peenemünde, but the Americans got the rocket engineers. What could be more revolting and more inexcusable? How and why was this allowed to happen?” In a way, the Red Army’s race toward Peenemünde was symbolic: It was, without anyone knowing it, the beginning of the race for outer space, or what Winston Churchill once called “the wizard war.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties



“To a Westerner the anomaly of this—a man under a life sentence for treason working in a prison on the most secret scientific developments—is almost too much to comprehend. In the Soviet Union it was an accepted practice. Korolev was immensely valuable, but because he was so valuable, he was also dangerous. He consented to work because this way, at least, he got some rations, he was with his colleagues, and he was doing what he loved most of all.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“One percent of the population ruled—and they were all grafters—while the other ninety-nine percent live under the worst kind of feudalism.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“Karl Marx, Amaya liked to say, was the last great philosopher of the coal age; his workers were locked into a serflike condition. Had Marx witnessed the industrial explosion of the Oil Century and the rising standard of living it produced among ordinary workers, he might have written differently.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“Advertising,” he wrote, “now compares with such long-standing institutions as the school and the church in the magnitude of its social influence. It dominates the media, it has vast power in the shaping of popular standards and it is really one of the very limited groups of institutions which exercise social control.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“(The Revsons apparently did not like a young psychologist named Joyce Brothers, who appeared as an expert on boxing. Thus the questions given her were exceptionally hard—they even asked her the names of referees—in the desire to get her off the show; their strategy had no effect: She became the second person to win $64,000.)”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties



“The problem with military policies that are built to domestic specifications and do not take into account the complexity of the real world is that eventually the real world intrudes.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“His body language was that of someone frozen and not yet thawed out.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“Self-righteousness is the inevitable fruit of simple moral judgments.”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


“ingenue whose career was winding down”
― David Halberstam, quote from The Fifties


About the author

David Halberstam
Born place: in The United States
Born date April 10, 1934
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