Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)

Articles from Vol. 20, No. 3, Fall

Americans: A Collision of Histories
Americans: A Collision of Histories. Edward Countryman. New York: Hill and Wang, 1996. $25.00 cloth. Countryman argues that American society resulted from "a collision of histories." From their colonial origins, Americans were the product of confrontations...
Catalog Castles
On February 26, 1895, William Walden Gray, patriarch of the small town of Grayville, Illinois, died, bequeathing his heirs one of the largest fortunes in southern Illinois. With Gray in the ground, and with his cash in hand, Gray's widow and family immediately...
Fashion and the Car in the 1950s
Edson Armi, describing the assumptions and ambitions of the late 1940s and early 1950s, analyzes, Car designers, like everyone else, responded daily to the other "mass-culture" visual art, fashion design. The cultural conditions after the war affected...
Founding Mothers & Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society
Founding Mothers & Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society. Mary Beth Norton. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996. $35.00 cloth. Mary Beth Norton's examination of gendered power in early colonial America is incisive and wellwritten....
From the Wright Brothers to Top Gun: Aviation, Nationalism and Popular Cinema
From the Wright Brothers to Top Gun: Aviation, Nationalism and Popular Cinema. Michael Paris. Manchester, U.K.: Manchester University Press, 1995 (distributed in the U.S. by St. Martin's Press). 218 pp. Bibliographical references and index. $69.95 (cloth),...
G.I. Nightingales: The Army Nurse Corps in World War II
G.I. Nightingales: The Army Nurse Corps in World War II. Barbara Brooks Tomblin. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996. 264 pp. ISBN 0813119510. $29.95 cloth. Barbara Tomblin has made a valuable addition to the study of twentieth century American...
God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan
God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan. Jonathan D. Spence. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996. $27.50 cloth. In recent years, scholars have debated whether there will be a future "clash of cultures" between East and West as the world...
Health against Wealth: HMOs and the Breakdown of Medical Trust
Health Against Wealth: HMOs and the Breakdown of Medical Trust. George Anders. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1996. $24.95 cloth. In this history and analysis of the rise of managed health care in the United States, George Anders not only indicts managed...
Home Girls: Chicana Literary Voices
Home Girls: Chicana Literary Voices. Alvina E. Quintana. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996. I was looking forward to reading Home Girls because I am tired of the same old thing when it comes to Chicana literary criticism. I wanted to learn...
Lost Talent: Women in the Sciences
Lost Talent: Women in the Sciences. Sandra L. Hanson. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1996. $39.95 cloth. In a detailed statistical study, Hanson focuses on the loss of talented young women from science, math, and engineering education and...
Love, Lucy
America has had a long-standing love affair with the "queen of comedy," Lucille Ball. Amid this infatuation, numerous accounts of this American icon's personal and professional life have been written. A refreshing first person account of the comedienne's...
O Brave New People: The European Invention of the American Indian
O Brave New People: The European Invention of the American Indian. John F. Moffitt and Santiago Sebastian. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press,1996. $55.00 cloth. The authors craft an art-historical argument that medieval visual and literary...
Piety and Poverty: Working-Class Religion in Berlin, London and New York 1870-1914
Piety and Poverty: Working-Class Religion in Berlin, London and New York 1870-1914. Hugh McLeod. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1996. $45.00 cloth. Hugh McLeod challenges the widespread assumption that members of the industrial working class are likely...
Planning the Twentieth-Century American City
Planning the Twentieth-Century American City. Mary Corbin Sies and Christopher Silver, eds. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996. Mary Corbin Sies, who teaches in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, and Christopher...
Prime-Time Feminism: Television, Media Culture, and the Women's Movement since 1970
Prime-Time Feminism: Television, Media Culture, and the Women's Movement Since 1970. Bonnie J. Dow. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996. $17.50 paper; $39.95 cloth. In Prime-Time Feminism, Bonnie Dow has provided a comprehensive and...
Religion and Mass Media: Audiences and Adaptations
Religion and Mass Media: Audiences and Adaptations. Daniel A. Stout and Judith M. Buddenbaum, eds., Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 1996. $22.95 paper; $48.00 cloth. Religion and Mass Media are two extremely influential dimensions of popular culture....
Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840
Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 17301840. Steven C. Bullock. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. $49.95. With exceptions such as Dorothy Ann Lipson's Freemasonry in Federalist...
Seeing and Believing: Religion and Values in the Movies
Seeing and Believing: Religion and Values in the Movies. Margaret R. Miles. Boston: Beacon Press, 1996. $25.00 cloth. Working from her background in historical theology and using a cultural studies methodology, Margaret Miles (a professor at Harvard...
Tausend Welten: Die Aufloesung der Gesellschaft Im Digitalen Zeitalter (A Thousand Worlds: The Dissolution of Society in the Digital Age)
Although primarily directed toward a Germanspeaking audience, Uwe Jean Heuser's book holds important insights for American readers as well. Establishing an intercultural comparison among the United States, Europe, and Japan, Heuser, the business editor...
Technology as Freedom: The New Deal and the Electrical Modernization of the American Home
Generally, the most obvious and every-day are the most revolutionary. Certainly that can be said about the technologizing of America, which brought with it a much wider and greater degree of democratization, and maintained a wide gap between the haves...
Terror Translated into Comedy: The Popular Music Metamorphosis of Film and Television Horror, 1956-1991
American youth culture, the demographic legacy of World War II, began to exert its economic influence during the late 1950s. The mass media responded swiftly. Age-targeted motion pictures and television programs sought to attract the discretionary dollars...
The Birth of Whiteness: Race and the Emergence of U. S. Cinema
The Birth of Whiteness: Race and the Emergence of U. S. Cinema. Daniel Bernardi, ed. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1996. $18.95 paper; $50.00 cloth. The book collects thirteen essays grouped into four categories: "Representation and Resistance(?),"...
The Channeling Zone: American Spirituality in an Anxious Age / Inventing the Psychological: Toward a Cultural History of Emotional Life in America
Anxious Age. Michael F. Brown. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997. Inventing the Psychological: Toward a Cultural History of Emotional Life in America. Joel Pfister and Nancy Schnog, eds. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997. In an interesting...
The Fifties Spiritual Marketplace: American Religion in a Decade of Conflict
The Fifties Spiritual Marketplace: American Religion in a Decade of Conflict. Robert Ellwood. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1997. 272 pp. The Fifties were boom-time for religion. Bestseller lists were crowded with religious titles, and 99%...
The Folk Culture of "The Travelers": Clans of Con Artists
Over four decades ago, on July 16, 1956, to be exact, Newsweek Magazine passed on to its readers a warning from the Pittsburgh Better Business Bureau to "Beware the `Terrible Williamsons."' The article described the Williamsons as "a close-knit clan...
The Jiangyin Mission Station: An American Missionary Community in China, 1895-1951
The Jiangyin Mission Station: An American Missionary Community in China, 1895-1951. Lawrence D. Kessler. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. $24.95 paper. Gender, Culture, and Christianity: American Protestant Mission Schools in...
The Kingfish and the Constitution: Huey Long, the First Amendment, and the Emergence of Modern Press Freedom in America
Press Freedom in America. Richard C. Cortner Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996. 216 pp. $55.00 cloth. Cortner attempts to illuminate a lesser-known area of American constitutional development and to draw attention to some traditionally ignored...
The Lively Arts: Gilbert Seldes and the Transformation of Cultural Criticism in the United States
The Lively Arts: Gilbert Seldes and the Transformation of Cultural Criticism in the United States. Michael Kammen. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. $35.00 cloth. How does an historian write a biography of an intellectual whose writings at the...
The Problem of God in a Hypervisual Society: An Essay in American Aesthetics
Show me this new jesus, somebody, so we'll all be saved by the sight of him!" Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood Given my assumption that the United States of America has become the most ocularly-oriented or hypervisualized of cultures among recorded civilizations,...
The Warrior Generals: Combat Leaders in the Civil War
The Warrior Generals: Combat Leaders in the Civil War. Thomas B. Buell. New York: Crown, 1997. This book should be read by everyone interested in the Civil War, and especially by those who romanticize the war and the generals who directed it, for the...
"The Woman at the Wheel": Marketing Ideal Womanhood, 1915-1934
"What changes a dozen years have wrought in motoring!" proclaims a 1915 Scribner's Magazine article extolling the engineering and mechanical advances that made it possible for women to take the wheel in ever-increasing numbers. "Now," the essay continues,...
Turning Points in Social Security: From "Cruel Hoax" to "Sacred Entitlement."
Turning Points in Social Security: From "Cruel Hoax" to "Sacred Entitlement." Sheryl Tynes. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996. 253 pp. $39.50 cloth. Cheryl Tynes attempts to explain Social Security's origin and development and how the nation's...
Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West
Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. Stephen E. Ambrose. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996. 511 pp. $27.50 cloth. Two of the reasons the retelling of the Lewis and Clark expedition continues to...
Vietnamese in America: Literary Representations
When, in 1987, John Clark Pratt proposed a structure to the canon of Vietnam War literature in his excellent "Bibliographic Commentary," he divided the material-fictional treatments-into five "acts" (corresponding to stages in the battlefield progress...