Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)

Articles from Vol. 30, No. 4, December

Anti-Americanism: History, Causes, Themes/Exceptional State: Contemporary U.S. Culture and the New Imperialism
Anti-Americanism: History, Causes, Themes Brendon O'Connor, Editor. Oxford: Greenwood, 2007. 4 vols.Exceptional State: Contemporary U.S. Culture and the New Imperialism Ashley Dawson and Malini Johaar Schueller, Editors. Durham: Duke University Press,...
Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity
Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity James C. Cobb. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.Coming to terms with southern identity is no easy matter, as a character in Thomas McGuane's short story "Gallatin Canyon" recognizes when she describes...
Cajun Women and Mardi Gras: Reading the Rules Backward
Cajun Women and Mardi Gras: Reading the Rules Backward Carolyn E. Ware. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007."Mardi Gras" is the term for the masked participants as well as the festival, and both are disorderly. Disruptive of hierarchy,...
"Circumstances Are Destiny": An Antebellum Women's Struggle to Define Sphere
"Circumstances are Destiny": an Antebellum Women's Struggle to Define Sphere Tina Stewart Brakebill. Kent, OH: The Kent State University Press, 2006."Circumstances are Destiny": An Antebellum Women's Struggle to Define Sphere is part of a recent and...
Class in America: An Encyclopedia
Class in America: An Encyclopedia Robert E. Weir, Editor. Westport: Greenwood, 2007. 3 vols.Those of us who live in the house of assumption that we are members of the illusory middle class should find a great deal of satisfaction in discovering others...
Critical Accommodations: Washington, Hollywood, and the World War II Housing Shortage
On January 24, 1943 NBC's top-rated comedy program The Jack Benny Show broadcast a brief skit on Frank Capra's controversial political comedy-drama Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). Benny describes it as a "modernized version of one of Hollywood's...
Dictionary of Midwestern Literature: Volume One; the Authors
Dictionary of Midwestern Literature: Volume One; The Authors Philip A. Greasley, General Editor. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007.Those of us who have waited anxiously through the years for this study of Midwestern literature realize that...
Essential Modernism
Essential Modernism Philip Brookman, Paul Greenhalgh, and Sarah Newman. London and Washington, DC: Corcoran Gallery of Art/V&A Publications, 2007."What was Modernism?" critic Harry Levin famously asked in 1960. One might reasonably expect a broader...
Father Abraham: Lincoln's Relentless Struggle to End Slavery
Father Abraham: Lincoln's Relentless Struggle to End Slavery Richard Striner, New York: Oxford, 2007.Lincoln, we all know, was a master of language. He was self-taught from the works of the Bible and Shakespeare, and he knew the subtleties of the works...
F. W. Woolworth and the American Five and Dime/The Streamline Era Greyhound Terminal: The Architecture of W. S. Arrasmith
F. W. Woolworth and the American Five and Dime Jean Maddern Pitrone. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2003.The Streamline Era Greyhound Terminal: The Architecture of W. S. Arrasmith Frank E. Wrenick. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007.Over the last three decades,...
Hobbes in the City: Urban Dystopias in American Movies
The year is 2032. The state is your nanny. Anything that is not good for you is illegal: beef, drugs, alcohol, sex, cigarettes, fattening foods. You get fined for cursing. Though there is an underground underclass, most people are so mellow that there...
Images of Germany in American Literature
Images of Germany in American Literature Waldemar Zacharasiewicz. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2007.In light of the seemingly unabated flow of negative stereotypes of Germans in American culture, Waldemar Zacharasiewicz's investigation of such...
Into That Silent Sea: Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961-1965
Into That Silent Sea: Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961-1965 Francis French and Colin Burgess. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007.Americans (and Russians, too, for that matter) have always found in their spacemen the faults they wished they...
I Was There When It Happened: My Life with Johnny Cash
I Was There When It Happened: My Life with Johnny Cash Marshall Grant, with Chris Zar. Nashville: Cumberland House, 2006.Bass players, despite the boom of their low-end frequencies and the drive of their rhythmic pulses, are, for the most part, rather...
Lincoln Revisited
Lincoln Revisited John Y. Simon, Harold Holzer, and Dawn Vogel, Editors. New York: Fordham University Press, 2007.Part of the undying appeal of Lincoln to Americans of all classes is that he pictures and recapitulates Americans' unease yet hopes and...
Lincoln's White House Secretary: The Adventurous Life of William O. Stoddard
Lincoln's White House Secretary: The Adventurous Life of William O. Stoddard Harold Holzer, Editor. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2007.The increasingly towering mountain of Lincoln scholarship brings new light and amusement to all of...
Lost for Words: The Hidden History of the Oxford English Dictionary
Lost for Words: The Hidden History of the Oxford English Dictionary Lynda Mugglestone. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.A cottage industry of sorts has grown up around the highly respected Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Several authors have written...
Nineteenth-Century American Fiction on Screen
Nineteenth-Century American Fiction on Screen R. Barton Palmer, Editor. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.Apparently it is time now, forty years after "cinema studies" went to college, for a new shelf of anthologies concerning literary adaptations...
Oz in Perspective: Magic and Myth in the L. Frank Baum Books
Oz in Perspective: Magic and Myth in the L. Frank Baum Books Richard Tuerk. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007.L. Frank Baum wrote fourteen Oz novels between 1900 and 1920, all of then overshadowed by the 1939 classic film based on the first Oz book. In...
Prophet Singer: The Voice and Vision of Woody Guthrie
Prophet Singer: The Voice and Vision of Woody Guthrie Mark Allan Jackson. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2007.Mark Allan Jackson's Prophet Singer holds up Woody Guthrie (1912-67) as an example to be followed, as someone who had clear convictions...
Providence and the Invention of the United States 1607-1876
Providence and the Invention of the United States 1607-1876 Nicholas Guyatt. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.When a politician or some other type with an ax to grind begins talking about his and his society's special role in developing or...
Rhetoric, Religion, and the Roots of Identity in British Colonial America: A Rhetorical History of the United States, Vol. 1
Rhetoric, Religion, and the Roots of Identity in British Colonial America: A Rhetorical History of the United States, Vol. 1. James R. Andrews, Editor. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2007.Most of us, whether we know it or not, use rhetoric...
Selling Anxiety: How the News Media Scare Women
Selling Anxiety: How the News Media Scare Women Caryl Rivers. Hanover: University Press of New England, 2007.In Selling Anxiety, Boston University journalism professor Caryl Rivers argues convincingly that books and articles seeking to undermine high-achieving...
Serialized Citizenships: Periodicals, Books, and American Boys, 1840-1911
Serialized Citizenships: Periodicals, Books, and American Boys, 1840-1911 Lorinda B. Cohoon. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, 2006.It is extremely rare that a book designed for specialists-in this case, historical critics of nineteenth-century American...
Shakespeare in American Life
Shakespeare in American Life Compiled and edited by Virginia Mason Vaughan and Alden T. Vaughan, Editors. Washington: Folger Shakespeare Library, 2007.Shakespeare, as we all know, from Colonial America on, has been the most familiar playwright, quotewright,...
Sociology in America: A History
Sociology in America: A History Craig Calhoun, Editor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.This volume was commissioned to commemorate a hundred years of sociological development. The book consists of twenty-one chapters, each written by one or...
Stephen King's Dolores Claiborne and Rose Madder: A Literary Backlash against Domestic Violence
The creak of the stairs. The quickening of a heartbeat. The taste of fear in the back of your throat. Horror novels capture America's fascination because so many of us, on some level, like to be frightened. We anticipate the rush of fear as we turn the...
Taken Hostage: The Iran Hostage Crisis and America's First Encounter with Radical Islam
Taken Hostage: The Iran Hostage Crisis and America's First Encounter with Radical Islam David Farber. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.If we agree with Dick Cavett's characterization of the 1970s as a time when "one could easily wonder if...
The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney
The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney Michael Barrier. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.Michael Barrier, the founder of the comics and animation magazine Funnnyworld and the author of Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden...
The Drama of Possibility: Experience as Philosophy of Culture: John J. McDermott
The Drama of Possibility: Experience as Philosophy of Culture: John J. McDermott Douglas R. Anderson, Editor. New York: Fordham University Press, 2007.It is always an inspiration to read the works of a noted philosopher who directs his thoughts primarily...
The Historic King Arthur
The Historic King Arthur Frank D. Reno. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007.There are quite a few theories about the truth of the "real King Arthur"; a quick search on Amazon.com turned up ten books on the subject, and there are doubtless more that this search...
"There Are No Civilians; We Are All at War": Nuclear War Shelter and Survival Narratives during the Early Cold War
"There are no civilians; we are all at war," statement of the fictional President after a nuclear war in the film, Panic In Year Zero!The Importance of Survival NarrativesOn the night of July 25, 1961, President John Kennedy spoke to the nation about...
Uncle Tom's Cabin as Visual Culture
Uncle Tom's Cabin as Visual Culture Jo-Ann Morgan. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2007.In her profusely illustrated Uncle Tom's Cabin as Visual Culture, Jo-Ann Morgan raises provocative questions regarding the hither to unexplored legacy of...
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