Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)

Articles from Vol. 31, No. 2, June

American Culture in the 1980s
American Culture in the 1980s Graham Thompson. Edinburgh University Press. 2007.The book leads off with a chronology of the major American cultural events of the 1980s. Throughout, case studies are developed to effectively illustrate and elaborate major...
America Town: Building the Outposts of Empire
America Town: Building the Outposts of Empire M.L. Gillem. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.Gillem is a historian, architect, and former military officer. He draws on his background to describe how the use of land on American military...
A Movable Feast: Ten Millennia of Food Globalization
A Movable Feast: Ten Millennia of Food Globalization Kenneth F. Kiple. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.A Movable Feast: Ten Millennia of Food Globalization is an engaging, wonderfully detailed account of the global spread of foods over the...
Brand NFL: Making and Selling America's Favorite Sport
Brand NFL: Making and Selling America's Favorite Sport Michael Oriard. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2007.Although there have been many books written about the National Football League, this study is unique in that the author...
Building a Century of Progress: The Architecture of Chicago's 1933-34 World's Fair
Building a Century of Progress: The Architecture of Chicago's 1933-34 World's Fair Lisa D. Shrenk. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.Discussion of "The Century of Progress" world's fair is unthinkable without comparisons with "The Columbian...
Celebrating Buster Keaton, 1993-2007
Two of the most distinctive creations of American culture would have to be American music (jazz, ragtime, and blues) and American silent comedy. Both are delightfully combined and celebrated in Eastern Kansas every autumn. The fans of Buster Keaton gathered...
Cinema by the Bay
Cinema by the Bay Sheerly Avni. New York: George Lucas Books, 2006.Cinema by the Bay is the first title from George Lucas Books, and as such it adequately represents some of the valuable contributions of previous Lucasfilm-related volumes as well as...
Civil War America: Voices from the Home Front/On Alexander Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War/The Civil War's First Blood: Missouri, 1854-61
Civil War America: Voices from the Home Front James Marten. New York: Fordham University Press, 2007.On Alexander Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War Anthony W. Lee and Elizabeth Young. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.The...
Climbing Jacob's Ladder: Reconstructing the Ladder in African American Spirituals
And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to...
Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts
Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts Clive James. New York: W.W. Norton Co., 2007.This is a browse about book, written by a gifted stylist who is very widely read and who has a clear sense of what (or whom) should be considered...
Daily Life in Immigrant America, 1870-1920
Daily Life in Immigrant America, 1870-1920 June Granatir Alexander. Westport: Greenwod Press, 2007.In our day when, for one reason another cultures are restless, forced to move, or for economic or military conditions are being forced or allowed to move,...
Dashing Diamond Dick and Other Classic Dime Novels/American Supernatural Tales
Dashing Diamond Dick and Other Classic Dime Novels J. Randolph Cox, Ed. New York: Penguin Books, 2007.American Supernatural Tales S.T. Joshi, Ed. New York: Penguin Books, 2007.The nineteenth century was saturated with the literature of Beadle's Dime...
Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War
Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War Joe Bageant. NY: Crown, 2007.Standing on the subway, reading Deer Hunting with Jesus, I was approached by a nice-looking middle-aged woman who told me that if I enjoyed that book, I might also...
Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero
Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero Danny Fingeroth. Foreword by Stan Lee: New York: Continuum, 2007.If we accept the Hebrew Bible as historical source, persons of Jewish identity have forever debated how that identity...
Does Judgment at Nuremberg Accurately Depict the Nazi War Crimes Trial?
The year 2007 was the sixtieth anniversary of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, in which the victorious Allies prosecuted high officials in the Nazi regime for what were labeled "crimes against humanity." Discussing the contemporary significance of the...
Empire and the Literature of Sensation, an Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Popular Fiction
Empire and the Literature of Sensation, an Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Popular Fiction Jess Alemàn and Shelley Streeby, Eds. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2007.Empire and the Literature of Sensation is a critical anthology of nineteenth-century...
Entertaining the Nation: American Drama in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Entertaining the Nation: American Drama in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries Tice L. Miller. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2007.All cultures need action, either mental or some kind of external activity. America, because of its...
Faith and Fiction: Christian Literature in America Today
Faith and Fiction: Christian Literature in America Today Anita Gandolfo. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007.The popularity of faith-based fiction has increased greatly in the last decade. Religious fiction was once sold almost exclusively in Christian bookstores:...
Globalization & American Popular Culture
Globalization & American Popular Culture Lane Crothers. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., 2007.Lane Crothers provides a highly accessible introduction to basic concepts of cultural studies specifically as related to economic globalization....
Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement
Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement D.E. Miller and T. Yamamori. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.Miller and Yamamori characterize Pentecostals as Christians who respond to what they perceive to be the leading...
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything Christopher Hitchens. New York: Twelve/Hachette Book Group USA, 2007.There is most certainly a demonstrable market these days for books concerning religion and its excesses and its discontents, especially...
Hollywood and the Culture Elite: How the Movies Became American
Hollywood and the Culture Elite: How the Movies Became American Peter Decherney. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.Hollywood and the Culture Elite is an ambitious attempt to describe the process by which the "movies" came to be accepted by the...
Honorable Mention Winner in the 2007 Best Graduate Student Paper Competition: The Media's Frontier Construction of President George W. Bush
In January 2006, President George W. Bush accepted unscreened questions from students at Kansas State University. David Sanger's New York Times article captured a unique exchange when a student asked a rather unusual and pointed question. The student,...
How the West Was Sung: Music in the Westerns of John Ford
How the West Was Sung: Music in the Westerns of John Ford Kathryn Kalinak. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.Acknowledging reservations regarding auteurism in film criticism, Kathryn Kalinak, professor of English and film studies at Rhode...
Kids Rule!: Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship
Kids Rule!: Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship Sarah Banet-Weiser. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.Geraldine Laybourne, former president of kids' cable channel Nickelodeon and oft-quoted personage in the pages of Sarah Banet-Weiser's new book,...
Lincoln's Legacy: Ethics and Politics
Lincoln's Legacy: Ethics and Politics Phillip Shaw Paludan, Ed. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008.As the population of the United States grows larger and more complex, politicians as well as citizens seek anchors and explanations for their actions...
Living Blue in the Red States
Living Blue in the Red States David Starkey, Ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007.Starkey, a poet and professor of English, has put together an intriguing collection of essays. Each contributor is an experienced writer. In view of the "red-state/blue...
Living with Star Trek: American Culture and the Star Trek Universe
Living with Star Trek: American Culture and the Star Trek Universe Lincoln Geraghty. London: I. B. Tauris, 2007.From 1966 to 1969, seventy-nine hour-long television episodes introduced Earthlings to the crew of the 23rd-century starship USS Enterprise,...
Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America
Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America Giles Slade. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006.The book's cover, depicting a storage space filled with discarded computer monitors, says it all. As American technology advances, the waste...
Mediated Deviance and Social Otherness: Interrogating Influential Representations
Mediated Deviance and Social Otherness: Interrogating Influential Representations Kylo-Patrick R. Hart, Ed. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007.This volume focuses on representations of social deviance from mainstream society in a diversity...
Medium Cool: Music Videos from Soundies to Cellphones
Medium Cool: Music Videos from Soundies to Cellphones Roger Beebe and Jason Middleton, Eds. Duke University Press, 2007.Jason Middleton and Roger Beebe's anthology of articles related to the history, the art, the technology, and the business of music...
Naked on the Internet: Hookups, Downloads and Crashing in on Internet Sexploration
Naked on the Internet: Hookups, Downloads and Crashing in on Internet Sexploration AudaciaRay. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2007.Based on her experience both as a worker and a researcher in the sex industry, Audacia Ray argues that the Internet is a place...
Nightclub City: Politics and Amusement in Manhattan
Nightclub City: Politics and Amusement in Manhattan Burton W. Peretti. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.Burton W. Peretti has Grafted an intriguing cultural history with this consideration of the effects of the leisure industry of...
Nuclear Weapons: What You Need to Know
Nuclear Weapons: What You Need to Know Jeremy Bernstein. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.Written by Jeremy Bernstein, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the Stevens Institute of Technology, and the author of several books about modern physics...
Popular Ideologies: Mass Culture at Mid-Century
Popular Ideologies: Mass Culture at Mid-Century Susan Smulyan. University of Pennsylvania Press 2007.Professor Smulyan concentrates on the reformulation of popular culture in the years following World War II. She draws on the concept of "popular ideologies"...
Popular Stories and Promised Lands: Fan Cultures and Symbolic Pilgrimages
Popular Stories and Promised Lands: Fan Cultures and Symbolic Pilgrimages R.C. Aden. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1999.Aden argues persuasively that being a fan of a particular popular culture phenomenon such as a comic strip or a television...
Preaching Politics: The Religious Rhetoric of George Whitefield and the Founding of a New Nation
Preaching Politics: The Religious Rhetoric of George Whitefield and the Founding of a New Nation Jerome Dean Mahaffey. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2007.America from the time of the first settlers has been a separated land and people in need of a common...
Radio's America: The Great Depression and the Rise of Modern Mass Culture
Radio's America: The Great Depression and the Rise of Modern Mass Culture Bruce Lenthall. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.The old debates about the constraining effect of mass mediated culture and how individuals respond with strategies to...
Revisiting Vietnam: Memoirs, Memorials, Museums
Revisiting Vietnam: Memoirs, Memorials, Museums Julia Bleakney. New York: Routledge, 2006.Bleakney's study examines contemporary attempts to memorialize the Vietnam War. She is not interested in the historical facts per se, but rather in "the processes...
Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller: Reframing the American West
Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller: Reframing the American West Robert T. Self. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2007.Robert T. Self makes a case for McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) as an underrated film in Robert Altman's canon; he also seeks...
Seeing High & Low: Representing Social Conflict in American Culture
Seeing High & Low: Representing Social Conflict in American Culture Patricia Johnston, Ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.The title of this book of very well-written and provocative essays suggests that the authors are undertaking...
Spelling and Society: The Culture and Politics of Orthography around the World
Spelling and Society: The Culture and Politics of Orthography Around the World Mark Sebba. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.Spelling and Soaety by Mark Sebba makes a convincing case for a model of orthography that sees a language's writing...
Talking the Real War: Jargon, Guilt, and Viet Nam Veteran Poetry
Jargon, War, and ResponsibilityDescribing the complex linguistic features of the representation of the first Gulf War, George Lakoff once wrote, with only scant hyperbole, that "metaphors can kill" (Lakoff "Metaphor"). Tracing the embedded metaphors...
The Africanist Aesthetic in Global Hip-Hop: Power Moves
The Africanist Aesthetic in Global Hip-Hop: Power Moves Halifu Osumare. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.From the deejay to the emcee, the artistic expression of the graffiti artists, and the athleticism of skilled b-boy and b-girl breakers, The Africanist...
The American Counterculture
The American Counterculture Christopher Gain Edinburgh University Press, 2007.The book is divided into two parts. Part One concentrates on elaborations of the American counterculture between the years of 1945 and 1960. Part Two focuses on the years 1961-72....
The American Western
The American Western Stephen McVeigh. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007.Stephen McVeigh's book is an efficient study of the myth of the frontier and the history of the West, established as an interrogation of the Western by way of its association...
The Arts of Democracy: Art, Public Culture, and the State
The Arts of Democracy: Art, Public Culture, and the State Casey Nelson Blake, Ed. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.This comprehensive and profound investigation into the place and possible role of the arts in present-day and future-day...
The Author-Cat: Clemens's Life in Fiction
The Author-Cat: Clemens's Life in Fiction Forrest G. Robinson. New York: Fordham University Press, 2007.Mark Twain, like Abraham Lincoln, is for scholars and general readers a subject of infinite interest. Robinson's study of Mark Twain is especially...
The Enchanted Years of the Stage: Kansas City at the Crossroads of American Theater, 1870-1930
The Enchanted Years of the Stage: Kansas City at the Crossroads of American Theater, 1870-1930 Felicia Hardison Londré, Columbia: U of Missouri Press, 2007Felicia Hardison Londre's The Enchanted Years of the Stage not only offers a flashback to a post-Civil...
The Female Investigator in Literature, Film and Popular Culture
The Female Investigator in Literature, Film and Popular Culture Lisa M. Dresner. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007.Lisa Dresner, who teaches literature at Hofstra University, has published on gender and the gothic. In The Female Investigator, she draws...
The Literature/Film Reader: Issues of Adaptation
The Literature/Film Reader: Issues of Adaptation James M. Welsh and Peter Lev, Eds. Lanham, MD: Toronto and Plymouth, UK: The Scarecrow Press, 2007.The Literature/Film Reader focuses on the current state of adaptation studies in the United States, Great...
The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City
The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City Carl Smith. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006.It is almost a truism that almost everyone has heard of Burnham's (actually Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett's) 1909...
The Postal Age: The Emergence of Modern Communications in Nineteenth-Century America
The Postal Age: The Emergence of Modern Communications in Nineteenth-Century America David M. Henkin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.Reading David M. Henkin's thought-provoking and elucidating social history of the U.S. Postal System, one...
The Silents of God: Selected Issues and Documents in Silent American Film and Religion, 1908-25/sanctuary Cinema: Origins of the Christian Film Industry
The Silents of God: Selected Issues and Documents in Silent American Film and Religion, 1908-25 Terry Lindvall. Lanham, MD, Toronto, London: The Scarecrow Press, 2001.Sanctuary Cinema: Origins of the Christian Film Industry Terry Lindvall. New York,...
The Sub-Subaltern Monster: Imperialist Hegemony and the Cinematic Voodoo Zombie
With the popular success of the first talkie horror films, Hollywood of the 1930s was anxious to find the next big-screen monster. Surprisingly, the creative efforts of filmmakers lead them not to the usual mythologies of Europe but rather to exotic...
Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism from Okalahoma City to Ground Zero
Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism from Okalahoma City to Ground Zero Marita Sturken. Duke University Press, 2007.Professor Sturken concentrates on the many aspects of individual and collective responses to Okalahoma City bombing, the...
Writing Deafness: The Hearing Line in Nineteenth-Century American Literature
Writing Deafness: The Hearing Line in Nineteenth-Century American Literature Christopher Krentz. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.Christopher Krentz in Writing Deafness: The Hearing Line in Nineteenth-Century American Literature...