Condensing the Cold War: Reader's Digest and American Identity

Condensing the Cold War: Reader's Digest and American Identity

Condensing the Cold War: Reader's Digest and American Identity

Condensing the Cold War: Reader's Digest and American Identity

Synopsis

"Condensing the Cold War shifts the focus on geopolitics and international relations in America from the study of political elites to the imagined geographies of popular culture. Joanne Sharp exposes the links that the Digest forged between the individual reader and the destiny of the United States, especially those relating to the Soviet Union, a Cold War enemy whose character the magazine is often credited with helping to create. Sharp shows how the changing representations of the communist threat to the United States depicted in the Digest produced a particular image of Americanness for its readers and reveals how readers were drawn into the developing story to become complicit subjects of this political identity." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Although some inhabited places are further north on the map and
actually as cold, Russia's lumbering heritage of isolation and
backwardness makes it more frozen. Russia remains psychologically
the most northern of nations.

The Soviet Union has announced—through its invasion of Afghanistan—
that it is conducting a classic war for geopolitical domination. One of the
most important lessons of Afghanistan is that we have led the Russians
into irresistible temptation
. Our ostentatious unwillingness to contest
Soviet expansionism in place after place, our repeated failures to take any
action in one crisis after another, have led the Soviets to conclude that
they could pursue their own desires without fear of reprisal.

However much the Soviet leaders fear our weapons, they fear the truth
even more.

The Russians do not grab merely real estate. They also grab people.
And this is where you come in….No-one is too small or insignificant,
too young or too old, to be shackled and regimented or pauperized and
destroyed….The communist masterplot … is focused on everyone,
everywhere. It proceeds step by step and region by region. By its all
encompassing timetable sooner or later it has to reach you.

Reader's Digest might offer the single most important voice in the creation of popular geopolitics in America in the twentieth century. the magazine offers a unique insight into the workings of American political culture. Since 1922 it has been reflecting upon the state of world affairs for its readership and explaining both America's and the reader's role and . . .

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