Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)

Articles from Vol. 18, No. 4, Winter

Audio Books in a Visual Culture
According to Andre Bazin, long before cinema was invented, it existed as a platonic ideal, a dream awaiting fulfillment. In a similar way, the Talking Book has long been prefigured. In Cyrano de Bergerac's Voyage to the Moon, which was written in 1650,...
Barbara Kingsolver's Lowfat Fiction
The world of contemporary American fiction must be a bewildering circus for many readers, though sales figures indicate that we're buying tickets at a record rate. Venues range from the intimate neighborhood bookshop where the owner knows your tastes...
Book Reviews -- Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character by Jonathan Shay
Achilles In Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character. Jonathan Shay. New York: Atheneum, 1994. 246 pp. $20.00.Most of the books on the Vietnam War have focused on how that particular war was different from other wars. Emphasis on the uniqueness...
Book Reviews -- A Surgeon's Civil War: The Letters and Diary of Daniel M. Holt, M.D. Edited by James M. Greiner, Janet L. Coryell and James R. Smither
A Surgeon's Civil War: The Letters and Diary of Daniel M. Holt, M.D. Ed. James M. Greiner, Janet L. Coryell and James R. Smither. Kent: The Kent State University Press, 1994. xvi + 289 pp. Index, biblio, notes.The majority of the memoirs and letters...
Book Reviews -- Barney Google and Snuffy Smith: 75 Years of an American Legend by Brian Walker
Behold the Child: American Children and Their Books 1621-1922. Gillian Avery. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1994.If from the mouths of babes comes much wisdom, perhaps even more can come from the literature written for children by adults. And from a study...
Book Reviews -- Capital Elites: High Society in Washington, D.C. after the Civil War by Kathryn Allamong Jacob / Living in, Living Out: African American Domestics in Washington, D.C., 1910-1940 by Elizabeth Clark-Lewis
Capital Elites: High Society in Washington, D.C. after the Civil War. Kathryn Allamong Jacob. Washington: Smithsonian Press, 1995.Living In, Living Out: African American Domestics in Washington, D.C., 1910-1940. Elizabeth Clark-Lewis. Washington: Smithsonian...
Book Reviews -- Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity Edited by John R. Gillis
Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity. Ed. John R, Gillis. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.Few people will deny that the course of humankind, though it might make no progress, is a giant force and movement, like a varicolored...
Book Reviews -- Covering the Body. the Kennedy Assassination, the Media and the Shaping of Collective Memory by Barbie Zelizer
Ronald Reagan in Hollywood: Movies and Politics. Stephen Vaughn. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994. 359 pp.Much ink has been spilled biographing the life and times of Ronald Reagan, and one might think that the story has been adequately told....
Book Reviews -- Dillinger: The Untold Story by G. Russel Girardin with William J. Helmer
Dillinger: The Untold Story. G. Russel Girardin with William J. Helmer. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 1994.The told and untold segments of the Dillinger story are recounted here from a source that was for years unknown or forgotten, a 600 page...
Book Reviews -- Gender, Class, and Shelter: Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, V Edited by Elizabeth C. Cromley and Carter L. Hudgins
Gender, Class, and Shelter: Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, V. Eds. Elizabeth C. Cromley and Carter L. Hudgins. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1995. xv + 272 pp. Preface and bibliography.This volume is the fifth in a series that brings...
Book Reviews -- in Public Houses: Drink and the Revolution of Authority in Colonial Massachusetts by David W. Conroy
They Still Call Me Junior: Autobiography of a Child Star; with a Filmography. Frank "Junior" Coghlan. Jefferson: McFarland, 1993. 330 pp. Library binding, filmography and index. $32.50.The fate of the McFarland Publishers is secure if this fine publisher...
Book Reviews -- Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture by William Leach
Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture. William Leach. New York: Pantheon, 1993. $30.00.Leach's lively study of the culture of consumption and of the department store in America from 1880 through 1932 is as appealing...
Book Reviews -- Living Witchcraft: A Contemporary American Coven by Allen Scarboro, Nancy Campbell and Shirley Stave
Living Witchcraft: A Contemporary American Coven. Allen Scarboro, Nancy Campbell, and Shirley Stave. Westport, CT: Praeger. 1994.This study of Wicca (witchcraft) is the combined effort of a psychologist, a sociologist, and a literary critic in cooperation...
Book Reviews -- Magazines for the Millions: Gender and Commerce in the Ladies Home Journal and the Saturday Evening Post, 1880-1910 by Helen Damon-Moore
Magazines for the Millions: Gender and Commerce in the Ladies Home Journal and the Saturday Evening Post, IBBO-1910. Helen Damon-Moore. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994. 263 pp. $17.95 paper.Turn-of-the-century gender construction in...
Book Reviews -- Maid in the U.S.A. by Mary Romero
Maid in the U.S.A. Mary Romero. New York: Routledge, 1992. 208 pp.This book is about what the author calls the "brute fact" that keeping houses clean in the United States is essential work, but is widely perceived to be degrading and dehumanizing work,...
Book Reviews -- Mothers and Work in Popular American Magazines by Kathryn Keller
American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, I869-1914. Gerald Bordman. New York: Oxford, 1993.This remarkable book sets out to cover all American non-musical theatre during the years indicated. It is comprehensive: "it chronicles, in order of...
Book Reviews -- One United People: The "Federalist Papers" and the National Idea by Edward Millican
One United People: The "Federalist Papers" and the National Idea. Edward Millican. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1990.One United People is that happy synthesis of tight, scholarly, detailed history, credible argument, and infinitely readable...
Book Reviews -- Prairie Nights to Neon Lights: The Story of Country Music in West Texas by Joe Carr and Alan Munde
Behold the Child: American Children and Their Books 1621-1922. Gillian Avery. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1994.If from the mouths of babes comes much wisdom, perhaps even more can come from the literature written for children by adults. And from a study...
Book Reviews -- Remote Control: Power, Cultures, and the World of Appearance by Barbara Kruger
Remote Control: Power, Cultures, and the World of Appearance. Barbara Kruger. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1993. 251 pp. $19.95.Word and image come together in artist Barbara Kruger's vision of contemporary popular culture. Unfortunately this volume of...
Book Reviews -- Ronald Reagan in Hollywood: Movies and Politics by Stephen Vaughn
Ronald Reagan in Hollywood: Movies and Politics. Stephen Vaughn. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994. 359 pp.Much ink has been spilled biographing the life and times of Ronald Reagan, and one might think that the story has been adequately told....
Book Reviews -- South Florida Folklife by Tina Bucuvalas, Peggy A. Bulger and Stetson Kennedy
South Florida Folklife. Tina Bucuvalas, Peggy A. Bulger and Stetson Kennedy. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 1994.By and large this book is an excellent collection of Southern life culture. Though called "folklife," it contains brief explanatory...
Book Reviews -- Spirit Poles and Flying Pigs: Public Art and Cultural Democracy in American Communities by Erika Doss
Spirit Poles and Flying Pigs: Public Art and Cultural Democracy in American Communities. Erika Doss. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995, 278 pp. with black-and-white illustrations, ISBN 1-56098+534-8, $17.95.So good it hurts, Erika...
Book Reviews -- the 60s: Spiritual Awakening by Robert S. Ellwood
The 60s: Spiritual Awakening. Robert S. Ellwood. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1994. 370 PP.This book is billed as "a condensed chronological survey of the formation of postmodernist pluralist countercommunity--" a phrase never heard in the...
Book Reviews -- the Black Press in Mississippi 1865-1985 by Julius E. Thompson
The Black Press in Mississippi 1865-1985. Julius E. Thompson. University of Florida Press: Gainesville, FL. 1993.The author presents a thoroughly researched social and cultural study of the Black Press in Mississippi. The book is a major contribution...
Book Reviews -- the Lawn. A History of an American Obsession by Virginia Scott Jenkins
The Lawn. A History of an American Obsession. Virginia Scott Jenkins. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994. 188 pp. plus 48 pp. notes, index., illus.Having had a book published on the same subject only a few months earlier than Virginia Scott...
Book Reviews -- the White House: The First Two Hundred Years Edited by Frank Freidel and William Pencak
The White House: The First Two Hundred Years. Edited by Frank Freidel and William Pencak. Boston: Northeastern University Press. 1994.This should be and is an interesting and informative book. What subject could be more interesting than the history of...
Book Reviews -- They Still Call Me Junior: Autobiography of a Child Star; with a Filmography by Frank "Junior" Coghlan
They Still Call Me Junior: Autobiography of a Child Star; with a Filmography. Frank "Junior" Coghlan. Jefferson: McFarland, 1993. 330 pp. Library binding, filmography and index. $32.50.The fate of the McFarland Publishers is secure if this fine publisher...
Book Reviews -- to See a Promised Land: Americans and the Holy Land in the Nineteenth Century by Lester I. Vogel
To See a Promised Land: Americans and the Holy Land in the Nineteenth Century. Lester I. Vogel. University Park: Penn State University, 1993.The obsessive force with which the concept of the Holy Land has held over American life is detailed in this informative...
Book Reviews -- Youth, Murder, Spectacle: The Cultural Politics of "Youth in Crisis" by Charles R. Acland
Youth, Murder Spectacle: The Cultural Politics of "Youth in Crisis." Charles R. Acland. Boulder: Westview Press, 1995. 174 pp.The problem Charles Acland addresses is enormous and terrifying. It involves, among other things, meaninglessness. Brenda Spencer...
Culture-Wars/gender-Scars: Faulkner's South vs. America
From the North, the outland, there looked down upon him countless row on row of faces which resembled his face and spoke the same language he spoke yet between whom and him there was no longer any real kinship and soon there would not even be any contact...
"Feel like a Million]": The Propitious Epoch in Men's Underwear Imagery, 1939-1952
"Feel like a million]" crowed Jockey underwear advertising after World War II. This triumphant post-War advertising for men's underwear may serve to indicate the place of underwear in the modern imagination. It is chaste all-American illustrational reserve...
The Cultural Construction of Urban Poverty: Images of Poverty in New York City, 1890-1917
What is meant by the word "poverty?" Who exactly are "the poor?" Homeless men with hands outstretched? Welfare mothers with children at their skirts? Appalachian miners in blackface? Migrant families with overburdened Model T's? The images we recall...
The Reverend John Wingate: An Economic Casualty of Revolutionary Virginia
During the American Revolution John Wingate, the rector of St. Thomas parish in Orange County, Virginia, an ecclesiastical unit of the established Church of England, gave up his cure and departed for Great Britain. A hundred years later Philip Slaughter,...
The Strange Birth of Santa Claus: From Artemis the Goddess and Nicholas the Saint
Yes, Virginia, once upon a time there lived a kindly gift-bringer who sometimes came down the hearth smoke to leave presents, a friend and patron of children and women, especially maidens (Jones 300, 315). And, Virginia, her name was Artemis of Ephesus....
Unescorted in Africa: Victorian Women Ethnographers Toiling in the Fields of Sensational Science
Recently, anthropologists Catherine A. Lutz and Jane L. Collins have studied representations in that respectable staple of the doctor's waiting room--the National Geographic. In Reading National Geographic, they persuasively argue the role of the magazine...
Vulgar Fiction, Impure History: The Neglect of Historical Fiction
Historical novels have always been a problem for literary critics because they have long been unable to decide their status. For the most part, scholars have simply ignored them. As Harry Henderson observed, "the historical novel has not been a concern...
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