black and white photo of baby

Major advances in 20th-century America can be attributed, in no small part, to—babies! That’s the view of Janet Golden, a history professor at Rutgers University–Camden and author of Babies Made Us Modern: How Infants Brought America Into the Twentieth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2018). High infant-mortality rates at the turn of the century, she writes, prompted the federal government to intervene. Later, the 76 million children born from 1946 to 1964—the baby boom generation—marched parents into the expanding consumer culture that largely defines America today.