Life Timeline

For those born May 21, 1939.

Not your birthday? Find your timeline here.

Before you were born

You're one of the first people who's never lived in a world without Superman.

In March 2016, Carmen Petaccio wrote about the changes in recent history to comic-book heroes, and how they correlate with times of despair in America.

Year 81

You were born in May of 1939. This year, The Atlantic celebrates its 160th birthday, making it 2 times as old as you.

The year you were born, Raoul de Roussy de Sales wrote about the defining features of American nationality.


Around the time you were born, Germany and Italy formalized their alliance by signing the Pact of Steel in Berlin.

In July 2000, Francis X. Rocca wrote about the diplomacy between two Axis powers.

Coming of age

Around your 18th birthday, Britain tested its first hydrogen bomb, which failed to detonate properly.

In December 2006, William Langewiesche wrote about how a terrorist might go about obtaining a nuclear weapon.



Man on the Moon

At 30 years old, you were alive to behold people walking on the moon.

Over the years, the moon landing has come to be lauded as the pinnacle of human achievement, although it was often derided at the time. In 1963, NASA astronauts took to The Atlantic to plead the case for landing on the moon.

Half a life ago

Your life can be divided into two halves: before and after mass-produced personal computers.

In June 2015, David Sims wrote about how Apple and IBM convinced people to buy home computers in the 1970s and '80s.


STR New / Reuters


In 1984, Tina Turner, who was born the same year as you, released her Private Dancer solo album, featuring singles like "What's Love Got To Do With It." The album went on to win four Grammy Awards.

In January 2013, Esther Zuckerman wrote about Turner's decision to relinquish her U.S. citizenship.


NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute

Across the Universe

When you turned 68, you watched humankind reach the outer solar system.

With NASA's Cassini-Huygens mission in 2005, humans landed a probe in the outer reaches of the solar system for the first time, a moment Ross Andersen called the most glorious mission in the history of planetary science.

History in the making

History is happening all around you, every day.

The Atlantic is here to help you process it, in stories like these: