very, very impressive 4, really pushing the 5. if GR permitted the half star, 4.5 off the bat, and under consideration for a possible upgrade. David Halberstam, lifetime journalist, made his name at the age of 35 in 1969 with [b:The Best and the Brightest|414062|The Best and the Brightest|David Halberstam|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320400003s/414062.jpg|403286]--examining what was then, in those more hierarchal and establishment times, the 'paradox' of the nation's best intellectuals and minds leading the country into an unwinnable war. although there was a minor echo of this phenomenon with the Enron Scandal of the 2000s, (most of Enron's staff was Harvard MBAs and mathematics PhDs; they placed bets on energy prices that worked until they didn't), probably society in general is a bit less in awe of quadruple PhDs or whatever... anyway, enough about Halberstam's most famous work.
I've read Halberstam before. [b:The Coldest Winter|106393|The Coldest Winter Ever|Sister Souljah|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347600573s/106393.jpg|1241552] was quite impressively written--but among the "top books," (meaning, published by big publishers, reviewed by all the professionals), it spent almost half of its considerable length attacking Douglas MacArthur. now Gen. MacArthur has generally assumed a negative reputation among historians, but there is that paradox that if we spend hours and hours criticizing somebody, we are actually paying homage in a sense... another digression I guess...
ANYWAY, you will read this book if you enjoy 850 pages on the 1950s. Halberstam's method was to go chapter-by-chapter on distinctive personalities. thus we have coverage of Marilyn Monroe, Eisenhower, the McDonalds brothers and Ray Kroc, the inventor of the pill, German V-2 scientists brought over to work on NASA rockets.
there is A LOT of material here. and 850 pages means you'll be buried for more than a day, -- and of course not everyone is terribly interested in the 1950s or a journalistic character-by-character study, but the style is smooth, the writing fast-paced, and dollar for value (if this book is on ebook special), really we should be talking the full 4.5