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December 2016 Vol. 54 No. 4

Berghahn Books, Inc.

The following review appeared in the December 2016 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Social & Behavioral Sciences
History, Geography & Area Studies - Western Europe

2015-46187 CIP
Kalb, Martin. Coming of age: constructing and controlling youth in Munich, 1942–1973. Berghahn Books, 2016. 273p bibl index afp ISBN 9781785331534, $85.00; ISBN 9781785331541 ebook, $29.95.

This fine new study by Kalb (Bridgewater College, VA) investigates popular conceptions of youth and juvenile delinquency in postwar Germany. Specifically, he concentrates his attention on the city of Munich, where images of youth evolved from delinquency and deviancy in the 1940s, to rowdy teenage consumers in the 1950s, and finally to rebellious students in the 1960s and early 1970s. Kalb notes that his interests are not in generational cohorts or subcultures; rather, he seeks to illuminate how authorities constructed youth as a way of instituting social control. The author successfully shows how invoking Germany's youth became a tool for German officials to present a certain agenda for the future, as well as a means of avoiding difficult discussions about the recent past. Kalb rightly delineates the gendered differences in postwar discussions of youth, and his analysis reveals how images of male and female youth represented different social anxieties at different points in time. Employing a "top-down" approach and utilizing an impressive array of archival sources, contemporary periodicals, and oral histories, Kalb's work does a remarkable job of balancing the views of authority figures and young people.

--B. M. Puaca, Christopher Newport University

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.