Dispatches From China

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Taking stock of China’s ‘Greatest Generation’

People have different reactions to China that tend to evolve each time they visit. One comment that stood out recently was an observation about China’s “Greatest Generation.”

“The Greatest Generation” was the name newscaster Tom Brokaw gave his 1998 book on the generation that lived through the Great Depression and World War II. In it, he states, “It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced.”

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His main observation was that the majority of these men and women, having faced desperate times during the Depression, having made sacrifices during World War II, went on to build the United States into an economic and political powerhouse. His premise was that they did it not for personal fame and recognition, but because it was the right thing to do.

For some, it was an implied criticism of the baby boomer generation that followed. For others, it was a sentimental homage to the previous generation. Twelve years later the term still resonates as part of the American lexicon.

Read more in the latest Dispatches From China column in BizTimes Milwaukee.

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