Description : The story of the rise and fall of those comic books has never been fully told -- until The Ten-Cent Plague. David Hajdu's remarkable new book vividly opens up the lost world of comic books, its creativity, irreverence, and suspicion of authority. In the years between World War II and the emergence of television as a mass medium, American popular culture as we know it was first created—in the pulpy, boldly illustrated pages of comic books. No sooner had this new culture emerged than it was beaten down by church groups, community bluestockings, and a McCarthyish Congress—only to resurface with a crooked smile on its face in Mad magazine. When we picture the 1950s, we hear the sound of early rock and roll. The Ten-Cent Plague shows how -- years before music -- comics brought on a clash between children and their parents, between prewar and postwar standards. Created by outsiders from the tenements, garish, shameless, and often shocking, comics spoke to young people and provided the guardians of mainstream culture with a big target. Parents, teachers, and complicit kids burned comics in public bonfires. Cities passed laws to outlaw comics. Congress took action with televised hearings that nearly destroyed the careers of hundreds of artists and writers. The Ten-Cent Plague radically revises common notions of popular culture, the generation gap, and the divide between "high" and "low" art. As he did with the lives of Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington (in Lush Life) and Bob Dylan and his circle (in Positively 4th Street), Hajdu brings a place, a time, and a milieu unforgettably back to life.
Description : Heroes and Villains is the first collection of essays by David Hajdu, award-winning author of The Ten-Cent Plague, Positively 4th Street, and Lush Life. Eclectic and controversial, Hajdu’s essays take on topics as varied as pop music, jazz, the avant-garde, comic books, and our downloading culture. The heart of Heroes and Villains is an extraordinary new piece of cultural rediscovery, original to this book. It tells the untold story of one of the most important—and, ultimately, one of the most tragic—figures in American popular music, Billy Eckstine. Through exhaustive new research, Hajdu shows how this great, forgotten singer, once more popular than Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, transformed American music by combining sex appeal, sophistication, and black machismo—in the era of segregation. The cost, for Eckstine, was his career—and nearly his life. Other essays in this expansive book deal with topical and surprising subjects like Beyoncé, Bobby Darin, Kanye West, Marjane Satrapi, Woody Guthrie, Will Eisner, the White Stripes, Elmer Fudd, Elvis Costello, Harry Partch, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, and more.
Description : A personal, idiosyncratic history of popular music that also may well be definitive, from the revered music critic From the age of song sheets in the late nineteenth-century to the contemporary era of digital streaming, pop music has been our most influential laboratory for social and aesthetic experimentation, changing the world three minutes at a time. In Love for Sale, David Hajdu—one of the most respected critics and music historians of our time—draws on a lifetime of listening, playing, and writing about music to show how pop has done much more than peddle fantasies of love and sex to teenagers. From vaudeville singer Eva Tanguay, the “I Don’t Care Girl” who upended Victorian conceptions of feminine propriety to become one of the biggest stars of her day to the scandal of Blondie playing disco at CBGB, Hajdu presents an incisive and idiosyncratic history of a form that has repeatedly upset social and cultural expectations. Exhaustively researched and rich with fresh insights, Love for Sale is unbound by the usual tropes of pop music history. Hajdu, for instance, gives a star turn to Bessie Smith and the “blues queens” of the 1920s, who brought wildly transgressive sexuality to American audience decades before rock and roll. And there is Jimmie Rodgers, a former blackface minstrel performer, who created country music from the songs of rural white and blacks . . . entwined with the sound of the Swiss yodel. And then there are today’s practitioners of Electronic Dance Music, who Hajdu celebrates for carrying the pop revolution to heretofore unimaginable frontiers. At every turn, Hajdu surprises and challenges readers to think about our most familiar art in unexpected ways. Masterly and impassioned, authoritative and at times deeply personal, Love for Sale is a book of critical history informed by its writer's own unique history as a besotted fan and lifelong student of pop.
Description : Recounts the life and career of Duke Ellington's collaborator, the composer of such jazz standards as "Take the `A' Train" and a homosexual who received little acknowledgement for his talents during his lifetime.
Description : Between 1944 and 1953, a power struggle emerged between New York governor Thomas Dewey and U.S. senator Robert Taft of Ohio that threatened to split the Republican Party. In The Roots of Modern Conservatism, Michael Bowen reveals how this two-man battle for control of the GOP--and the Republican presidential nomination--escalated into a divide of ideology that ultimately determined the party's political identity. Initially, Bowen argues, the separate Dewey and Taft factions endorsed fairly traditional Republican policies. However, as their conflict deepened, the normally mundane issues of political factions, such as patronage and fund-raising, were overshadowed by the question of what "true" Republicanism meant. Taft emerged as the more conservative of the two leaders, while Dewey viewed Taft's policies as outdated. Eventually, conservatives within the GOP organized against Dewey's leadership and, emboldened by the election of Dwight Eisenhower, transformed the party into a vehicle for the Right. Bowen reveals how this decade-long battle led to an outpouring of conservative sentiment that had been building since World War II, setting the stage for the ascendancy of Barry Goldwater and the modern conservative movement in the 1960s.
Description : A provocative, exuberant, and deeply researched investigation into Mark Twain’s writing of America’s favorite icon of childhood, Huckleberry Finn: “A boldly revisionist reading of Twain’s Huckleberry Finn…Twain’s masterpiece emerges as a compelling depiction of nineteenth-century troubles still all too familiar in the twenty-first century” (Booklist, starred review). In the “groundbreaking” (Dallas Morning News) Huck Finn’s America, award-winning biographer Andrew Levy shows how modern readers have misunderstood Huckleberry Finn for decades. Mark Twain’s masterpiece is often discussed either as a carefree adventure story for children or a serious novel about race relations, yet Levy argues, it is neither. Instead, Huck Finn was written at a time when Americans were nervous about “uncivilized” bad boys, and a debate was raging about education, popular culture, and responsible parenting—casting Huck’s now-celebrated “freedom” in a very different and very modern light. On issues of race, on the other hand, Twain’s lifelong fascination with minstrel shows and black culture inspired him to write a book not about civil rights, but about race’s role in entertainment and commerce, the same features on which much of our own modern consumer culture is also grounded. In Levy’s vision, Huck Finn has more to say about contemporary children and race that we have ever imagined—if we are willing to hear it. An eye-opening, groundbreaking exploration of the character and psyche of Mark Twain as he was writing his most famous novel, Levy’s book “explores the soul of Mark Twain's enduring achievement with the utmost self-awareness...An eloquent argument, wrapped up in rich biographical detail and historical fact.” (USA TODAY). Huck Finn’s America brings the past to vivid, surprising life, and offers a persuasive argument for why this American classic deserves to be understood anew.
Description : Ages of Heroes, Eras of Men explores the changing depiction of superheroes from the comic books of the 1930s to the cinematic present. In this anthology, scholars from a variety of disciplines including history, cultural studies, Latin American studies, film studies, and English examine the superheros cultural history in North America with attention to particular stories and to the historical contexts in which those narratives appeared. Enduring comic book characters from DC and Marvel Comics including Superman, Iron Man, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Avengers are examined, along with lesser-known Canadian, Latino, and African-American superheroes. With a sweep of characters ranging from the Pulp Era to recent cinematic adaptations, and employing a variety of analytical frameworks, this collection offers new insights for scholars, students, and fans of the superhero genre.
Description : American Night, the final volume of an unprecedented trilogy, brings Alan Wald's multigenerational history of Communist writers to a poignant climax. Using new research to explore the intimate lives of novelists, poets, and critics during the Cold War, Wald reveals a radical community longing for the rebirth of the social vision of the 1930s and struggling with a loss of moral certainty as the Communist worldview was being called into question. The resulting literature, Wald shows, is a haunting record of fracture and struggle linked by common structures of feeling, ones more suggestive of the "negative dialectics" of Theodor Adorno than the traditional social realism of the Left. Establishing new points of contact among Kenneth Fearing, Ann Petry, Alexander Saxton, Richard Wright, Jo Sinclair, Thomas McGrath, and Carlos Bulosan, Wald argues that these writers were in dialogue with psychoanalysis, existentialism, and postwar modernism, often generating moods of piercing emotional acuity and cosmic dissent. He also recounts the contributions of lesser known cultural workers, with a unique accent on gays and lesbians, secular Jews, and people of color. The vexing ambiguities of an era Wald labels "late antifascism" serve to frame an impressive collective biography.
Description : An Army of Phantoms is a major new work of history and film criticism from the highly regarded critic J. Hoberman. Here he applies the same dynamic synergy of American politics and American popular culture to the Cold War’s first decade that he brought to the 1960s in the critically acclaimed The Dream Life. The years between 1946 and 1956 brought U.S. dominance over Europe and a new war in Asia, as well as the birth of the civil rights movement and the stirrings of a new youth culture. The period saw the movie industry purged of its political left while the rise of ideological action hero John Wayne came to dominate theaters. Analyzing movies and media events, Hoberman has organized a pageant of cavalry Westerns, apocalyptic sci-fi flicks, and biblical spectaculars wherein Cecil B. DeMille rubs shoulders with Douglas MacArthur, atomic tests are shown on live TV, God talks on the radio, and Joe McCarthy is bracketed with Marilyn Monroe. Here is a history of film that is also, to paraphrase Jean-Luc Godard, about the film of history. Essential reading for film and history buffs, An Army of Phantoms recasts a crucial era in the light of the silver screen.
Description : This landmark volume is the first to bring together leading scholarship on children’s and young adult literature from three intersecting disciplines: Education, English, and Library and Information Science. Distinguished by its multidisciplinary approach, it describes and analyzes the different aspects of literary reading, texts, and contexts to illuminate how the book is transformed within and across different academic figurations of reading and interpreting children’s literature. Part one considers perspectives on readers and reading literature in home, school, library, and community settings. Part two introduces analytic frames for studying young adult novels, picturebooks, indigenous literature, graphic novels, and other genres. Chapters include commentary on literary experiences and creative production from renowned authors and illustrators. Part three focuses on the social contexts of literary study, with chapters on censorship, awards, marketing, and literary museums. The singular contribution of this Handbook is to lay the groundwork for colleagues across disciplines to redraw the map of their separately figured worlds, thus to enlarge the scope of scholarship and dialogue as well as push ahead into uncharted territory.
Description : A complete update to the hit book on the real physics at work in comic books, featuring more heroes, more villains, and more science Since 2001, James Kakalios has taught "Everything I Needed to Know About Physics I Learned from Reading Comic Books," a hugely popular university course that generated coast-to-coast media attention for its unique method of explaining complex physics concepts through comics. With The Physics of Superheroes, named one of the best science books of 2005 by Discover, he introduced his colorful approach to an even wider audience. Now Kakalios presents a totally updated, expanded edition that features even more superheroes and findings from the cutting edge of science. With three new chapters and completely revised throughout with a splashy, redesigned package, the book that explains why Spider-Man's webbing failed his girlfriend, the probable cause of Krypton's explosion, and the Newtonian physics at work in Gotham City is electrifying from cover to cover.
Description : Do copyright laws directly cause people to create works they otherwise wouldn't create? Do those laws directly put substantial amounts of money into authors' pockets? Does culture depend on copyright? Are copyright laws a key driver of competitiveness and of the knowledge economy? These are the key questions William Patry addresses in How to Fix Copyright. We all share the goals of increasing creative works, ensuring authors can make a decent living, furthering culture and competitiveness and ensuring that knowledge is widely shared, but what role does copyright law actually play in making these things come true in the real world? Simply believing in lofty goals isn't enough. If we want our goals to come true, we must go beyond believing in them; we must ensure they come true, through empirical testing and adjustment. Patry argues that laws must be consistent with prevailing markets and technologies because technologies play a large (although not exclusive) role in creating consumer demand; markets then satisfy that demand. Patry discusses how copyright laws arose out of eighteenth-century markets and technology, the most important characteristic of which was artificial scarcity. Artificial scarcity was created by the existence of a small number gatekeepers, by relatively high barriers to entry, and by analog limitations on copying. Markets and technologies change, in a symbiotic way, Patry asserts. New technologies create new demand, requiring new business models. The new markets created by the Internet and digital tools are the greatest ever: Barriers to entry are low, costs of production and distribution are low, the reach is global, and large sums of money can be made off of a multitude of small transactions. Along with these new technologies and markets comes the democratization of creation; digital abundance is replacing analog artificial scarcity. The task of policymakers is to remake our copyright laws to fit our times: our copyright laws, based on the eighteenth century concept of physical copies, gatekeepers, and artificial scarcity, must be replaced with laws based on access not ownership of physical goods, creation by the masses and not by the few, and global rather than regional markets. Patry's view is that of a traditionalist who believes in the goals of copyright but insists that laws must match the times rather than fight against the present and the future.
Description : The characters, the stories, and the sensibilities coming out of Japanese animation, manga, and video games are together called Japan Cool. The origins of the movement are in manga, the practices of the readers, the diversity of the titles, and the sheer number of works.