American writers of the 1920s, such as Hemingway and Fitzgerald, have been heralded as The Lost Generation, while an earlier generation formed The American Renaissance. Far less critical attention has been paid to mid-twentieth-century literature and how a super-charged body of writing changed our perceptions of the world. Beyond the Gray Flannel Suit considers the books of our lives, which shaped our times, whether we realize it or not. Where did youth culture come from? Why do people argue over pop and high culture? What part do race and ethnicity play in an author's work? By examining a carefully selected range of books and authors, Castronovo shows the true significance of the remarkable literary explosion that took place between the late 1940s and the JFK years.