According to Strauss and Howe's interpretation, the typical grandparents were of the Missionary Generation; their parents were of the Lost Generation and G.I. Generation. Their children are Baby boomers and Generation X; their typical grandchildren are of the Generation Y.
The Silent are the generational stuffings of a sandwich between the get-it-done G.I.s and the self-absorbed Boom. Well into their rising adulthood, they looked to the G.I.s for role models and pursued what then looked to be a lifetime of refining, humanizing, and ameliorating a G.I.-built world. Come the mid-1960s, the Silent fell under the trance of their free-spirited next-juniors, the Boomers. As songwriters, graduate students, and young attorneys, they mentored the Consciousness Revolution, founding several of the organizations of political dissent the Boom would later radicalize.
The Silent grew up as the suffocated children of war and depression. They came of age too late to be war heroes (they fought in Korea to a tie) and just too early to be youthful free spirits. Instead, this early-marrying Lonely Crowd became the risk-averse technicians, sensitive rock-n-rollers ("Why must I be a teenager in love?") and civil rights advocates of a post-Crisis era in which conformity seemed a sure ticket to success. Midlife was an anxious "passage" for a generation torn between stolid elders and passionate juniors. Their surge to power coincided with fragmenting families, cultural diversity, institutional complexity, and prolific litigation. In 2003, they are entering elderhood with unprecedented affluence, a hip style, and a reputation for indecision.
David Foot in Boom Bust and Echo takes a very different perspective on this group arguing that those born in the 30s and early 40s are the most successful generation. He argues that because so few people were born during the depression and the war that employment opportunities were abundent and this group quickly rose to the top and became the management and superiors of the great mass of baby boomers that came after them. Using economic indicators he finds that 1938 was the best year to born in North America, in terms of economic success. The impact of the generation was also great culturally, as the musicians and thinkers such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and Allen Ginsberg who shaped the fashions of the younger boomers formed the engine behind the 1960s and 1970s.
Silent celebrities include the following:
Cultural endowments of the Silent Generation include: