This monumental work of cultural history was nominated for a National Book Award. It chronicles America's transformation, beginning in 1880, into a nation of consumers, devoted to a cult of comfort, bodily well-being, and endless acquisition. 24 pages of photos. From the Trade Paperback edition.
In Country of Exiles, William Leach, whose Land of Desire was a finalist for the National Book Award, explores the troubling effects of our national love affair with mobility. He shows us how the impulse to pull up stakes and find a new frontier has always battled with the need to put down roots, and how a new cosmopolitanism has seized our national identity. Leach takes us across a featureless America, where strip malls homogenize a once varied and majestic landscape, and where casinos displace the Native American spiritual connection to the land. He shows us a culture where everyone, from CEOs to office temps, abandons the notion of company loyalty, and where rootless academics posit a world without borders. With compelling vision and insight, Leach reveals the profound but often hidden impact of America's disintegrating sense of place on our national and individual psyche. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Presents a chronicle of nineteenth-century America's fascination with butterflies that traces the achievements of six naturalists who identified countless new species and unveiled the mysteries of their existence.
In this signal work of history, Bancroft Prize winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Lizabeth Cohen shows how the pursuit of prosperity after World War II fueled our pervasive consumer mentality and transformed American life. Trumpeted as a means to promote the general welfare, mass consumption quickly outgrew its economic objectives and became synonymous with patriotism, social equality, and the American Dream. Material goods came to embody the promise of America, and the power of consumers to purchase everything from vacuum cleaners to convertibles gave rise to the power of citizens to purchase political influence and effect social change. Yet despite undeniable successes and unprecedented affluence, mass consumption also fostered economic inequality and the fracturing of society along gender, class, and racial lines. In charting the complex legacy of our “Consumers’ Republic” Lizabeth Cohen has written a bold, encompassing, and profoundly influential book. From the Trade Paperback edition.
This volume offers the most comprehensive and incisive exploration of American consumer history to date, spanning the four centuries from the colonial era to the present.
This book provides a descriptive, episodic yet analytical synthesis of industrialization in America. It integrates analysis of the profound economic and social changes taking place during the period between 1877 and the start of the Great Depression. The text is supported by 30 case studies to illustrate the underlying principles of industrialization that cumulatively convey a comprehensive understanding of the era.
This sweeping history provides the reader with a better understanding of America’s consumer society, obsession with shopping, and devotion to brands. Focusing on the advertising campaigns of Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Wrigley’s, Gillette, and Kodak, Strasser shows how companies created both national brands and national markets. These new brands eventually displaced generic manufacturers and created a new desire for brand-name goods. The book also details the rise and development of department stores such as Macy’s, grocery store chains such as A&P and Piggly Wiggly, and mail-order companies like Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward.
At the turn of the twentieth century, an emerging consumer culture in the United States promoted constant spending to meet material needs and develop social identity and self-cultivation. In Sold American, Charles F. McGovern examines the key players active in shaping this cultural evolution: advertisers and consumer advocates. McGovern argues that even though these two professional groups invented radically different models for proper spending, both groups propagated mass consumption as a specifically American social practice and an important element of nationality and citizenship. Advertisers, McGovern shows, used nationalist ideals, icons, and political language to define consumption as the foundation of the pursuit of happiness. Consumer advocates, on the other hand, viewed the market with a republican-inspired skepticism and fought commercial incursions on consumer independence. The result, says McGovern, was a redefinition of the citizen as consumer. The articulation of an "American Way of Life" in the Depression and World War II ratified consumer abundance as the basis of a distinct American culture and history.
This book provides an introduction to the historical and theoretical foundations of consumerism. It then moves on to examine the experience of consumption in the areas of space and place, technology, fashion, `popular' music and sport. Throughout, the author brings a critical perspective to bear upon the subject, thus providing a reliable and stimulating guide to a complex and many-sided field.
Tying together of several distinct cultural patterns during this century to create a culture of respectability and its impact on popular culture, trade, politics, social dynamics, and literature, this original and thoughtful work provides a comprehensive and much-needed understanding of the origins of modern consumption and all of its cultural implications.
Recasting the meaning of women's work in the early fight for gender equality
Americans have experienced a love-hate relationship with Wall Street for two hundred years. Long an object of suspicion, fear, and even revulsion, the Street eventually came to be seen as an alluring pathway to wealth and freedom. Steve Fraser tells the story of this remarkable transformation in a brilliant, masterfully written narrative filled with colorful tales of confidence men and aristocrats, Napoleonic financiers and reckless adventurers, master builders and roguish destroyers. Penetrating and engrossing, this is an extraordinary work of history that illuminates the values and the character of our nation.
"Marchand's masterful study of the creation of the corporate image is a classic, to be put alongside his "Advertising the American Dream." It will be essential reading for anyone interested in business, technology, consumer culture, and advertising in the twentieth century."--Jeffrey L. Meikle, University of Texas at Austin "More than any other historian, Roland Marchand has illuminated the murky crannies of our nation's underculture, in the process showing us how much of our national mythology is both reflected in and created by such once-scorned arts as advertising and public relations. "Creating the Corporate Soul" is a magisterial baring of the American psyche fashioned by the grandfathers and godfathers of today's spin doctors. It ranks with such great business histories as Daniel Boorstin's "The Americans: The Democratic Experience" and Alfred Chandler's "The Visible Hand.""--Randall Rothenberg, author of "Where the Suckers Moon: An Advertising Story"
Persuasively argues that the early feminists helped create a reform movement which has defined twentieth-century progressivism, as they brought social reforms to medicine, religion, education, and marriage
Culture, Politics, and Governing: The Contemporary Ascetics of Knowledge Production is a critical, interdisciplinary approach to how the practices that govern the production of knowledge and culture have material consequences for how we experience everyday life.
Thomas L. Haskell's The Emergence of Professional Social Science signaled the beginning of his distinguished career as a historian of ideas and critic of historical logic. His first book, now available in this paperback edition with a new preface by the author, explores the background and premises of the American Social Science Association (ASSA)—the first American group dedicated to the "scientific" study of humanity and society. Haskell thus helps us to understand a sea change in American intellectual life—the rise of this thing called "social science," the power and implications of the new trend toward secular professionalism, and, ultimately, how it happened that commonsense modes of explanation in terms of conscious choices by individuals came to be overshadowed by a mode of explanation that systematically construes people as creatures of circumstance. How, Haskell asks in his conclusion, did the development of modern society alter "the way we explain human affairs and conceive of man?" This edition includes a new appendix, listing all articles appearing in the Journal of Social Science from 1869 to 1901.
Brad Smith, a “funny, poignant, evocative” (Dennis Lehane) crime novelist, debuts a new series set in upstate New York featuring jack-of-all trades, Virgil Cain, who must clear his name of two murders while on the run from the law in this spirited country noir. Mickey Dupree is one of the most successful criminal attorneys in upstate New York, having never lost a capital murder case. That is the upside of being Mickey. The downside: Mickey has a lot of enemies and one of them drives the shaft of a golf club through his heart, leaving him dead in a sand trap at his exclusive country club. The cops, led by a dim-witted detective named Joe Brady, focus their attentions on Virgil Cain. Just two weeks earlier Virgil told a crowded bar that “somebody ought to blow Mickey’s head off,” after the slippery lawyer earned an acquittal for Alan Comstock, the man accused of murdering Virgil’s wife. Comstock, a legendary record producer, gun nut, and certifiable lunatic, has returned to his estate, where he lives with his wife, the long suffering Jane. It appears to Virgil that the fix is in when Brady immediately throws him into jail with no questions asked. In order to set things right, Virgil escapes from jail, determined to find Mickey’s killer himself. Aside from a smart and sexy detective named Claire Marchand, everybody is convinced that Virgil is the culprit. When Alan Comstock is discovered with six slugs in his body the day after Virgil’s escape, his guilt is almost assured. Now it is up to Virgil to convince everyone of his innocence—by finding the killer before he winds up as the next victim.
Analyzes the development of the U.S.'s modern socioeconomic structure in the late nineteenth century, discussing factors such as westward expansion, mechanization, labor unrest, and the growth of cities.
The question of how much freedom the press should enjoy has been debated throughout American history. In 1942 an impartial commission was formed to study mass communication, evaluate the performance of the media, and make recommendations for possible regulation of the press. This book is the general report of that commission. The Commission on Freedom of the Press began with the premise that freedom of the press is essential to political liberty; it is unique among the freedoms, for it promotes and protects all the rest. At the same time, the commission feared the concentration of media control into fewer and fewer hands, stating, "It [is] imperative that the great agencies of mass communication show hospitality to ideas which their owners do not share." The commission concluded that any regulation of the media must come from within, not from the government.
Often Gilded-Age politics has been described as devoid of content or accomplishment, a mere spectacle to divert voters from thinking about the real issues of the day. But by focusing too closely on dramatic scandals and on the foibles of prominent politicians, many historians have tended to obscure other aspects of late nineteenth-century politics that proved to be of great and long-term significance. With the latest scholarship in mind, Professor Cherny provides a deft and highly readable analysis that is certain to help readers better understand the characteristics and important products of Gilded-Age politics. Topics covered include: voting behavior; the relation between the popular will and the formation of public policy; the cause and effect of the deadlock in national politics that lasted from the mid-1870s to the 1890s; the sources of political innovation at state and local levels; and the notable changes wrought during the 1890s that ushered in important new forms of American politics.