The second novel in The Generations Series is entitled: Communists, Capitalists & Cokeheads: The Connected Generation. It picks up where the first novel Boomers, Bastards & Boneheads left off and covers the period of the 1980’s. It introduces the next generation of Babcocks and Johnsons, while dealing with residual issues of infidelity, sexual torment and manslaughter, which the previous generation had left unresolved.
Once again Shenandoah High School, baseball, politics, spirituality and music provide a structural context. Fox Babcock and his half-sister Maureen “Mo” Babcock play prominent roles. Vietnam War hero Mickey Johnson remarries (his first wife died in the earlier novel, BB&B.) and his new wife Sydney (A/K/A ‘Syd’) delivers three children into their family. Syd Johnson has an Italian father and an African American mother.
The plot deals with a new premeditated murder and an intensifying family animosity between the Babcocks and the Johnsons. It also details Simone’s 18 month sabbatical in the squalor of Calcutta on the Indian subcontinent. Simone attempts to discover her own spirituality while working with Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa’s charity. Meanwhile 13 year old Maureen Babcock runs away from one of America’s wealthiest family households and the consequences are tragic. Fox Babcock finally becomes aware of his authentic pedigree and wrestles with this truth during his high school days at Shenandoah; through his college years at Harvard and onto his first year at Johns Hopkins Medical School.
Major social issues of the 80’s also punctuate the plot. AIDS; cocaine addiction; racial tensions and gender (in)equality are central to the plot. Also the progression of the nascent personal computer industry foretells the insidious influence of these machines on the global future as well as on the lives of the Babcocks and the Johnsons. Likewise, the earliest cell phones emerge and begin to impact the lives and livelihoods of the two families. Racially polarizing events such as the Bernhard Goetz Subway Shootings and the Central Park Jogger case cause developing disharmony between multiracial members of the Johnson family.
Meanwhile Mickey Johnson’s career has brought him a new prosperity, even while his outlook on life becomes more rigidly rooted in working class values. The Johnsons and the Babcocks continue to deal with their ever-escalating hostility. In addition, parts of each family have moved to California to participate in the stimulating atmosphere of Silicon Valley. Simone rejoins this capitalistic development after she returns from India. This second novel climaxes in 1989 with the main characters assembled in an attempted rapprochement at the home of the woman who has been a part of both families. However, the Loma Prieta earthquake intervenes and alters the intentions of Simone Muirchant. The near-death experiences of the primary members of the Babcock/Johnson Feud provide for some relief in the rancor. However it offers no real closure to the conflict. As the USSR and the USA begin to wind down their Cold War, a frigid wall is erected for the next generation of the Babcocks and the Johnsons. This section of that saga ends on the doorstep on the Internet Age. Book three of the Generation Series, Thinkers, Techies & Terrorists: The Tribal Generation (scheduled for release in October 2017) will take the Johnsons and the Babcocks through that doorway.