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Q&A | February 27, 2014

Rene Denfeld: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Rene Denfeld



Describe your latest book. The Enchanted is a story narrated by a man on death row. The novel was inspired by my work as a death penalty... Continue »
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A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America

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A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Lizabeth Cohen's refreshingly bold and ambitious book is an effort to explain how the republic for which we stand came to be shaped by our economy's insatiable demand for demand. Cohen breaks sharply with an often frustrating tendency in contemporary historiography. For the past two or three decades, historians have been studiously thinking small....One hopes that her book will stimulate her colleagues to take similar risks, even the risk of emulating historians of previous generations whose efforts at intellectual synthesis and grand narrative are treated now with contempt by postmodern pygmies." Alan Wolfe, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this signal work of history, Bancroft Prize winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Lizabeth Cohen shows how the pursuit of prosperity after World War II fueled our pervasive consumer mentality and transformed American life.

Trumpeted as a means to promote the general welfare, mass consumption quickly outgrew its economic objectives and became synonymous with patriotism, social equality, and the American Dream. Material goods came to embody the promise of America, and the power of consumers to purchase everything from vacuum cleaners to convertibles gave rise to the power of citizens to purchase political influence and effect social change. Yet despite undeniable successes and unprecedented affluence, mass consumption also fostered economic inequality and the fracturing of society along gender, class, and racial lines. In charting the complex legacy of our “Consumers Republic” Lizabeth Cohen has written a bold, encompassing, and profoundly influential book.

Review:

"A surprising, engaging portrayal of the ways that mass consumption transformed America from the small scale to the large, as public authorities intervened massively and consequentially on behalf of their own visions of a consumer society. The book's illustrations alone offer a striking album of local life's texture across four turbulent decades of incessant change." Viviana A. Zelizer, author of The Social Meaning of Money

Review:

"The story is familiar. Historians and social critics have told it for years, from multiple angles. Yet few accounts are as provocative or original as A Consumers' Republic." The New York Times

Review:

"Shopping malls, suburban neighborhoods, union halls, picket lines, and government offices. These are the places focused on in Cohen's compelling examination of the development of the United States as a consumers? republic since the late 1930s. In the process she transforms the way we understand postwar America." Daniel Horowitz, author of The Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939-1979

Review:

"A Consumer?s Republic is a real tour de force. It is impressive in its sheer sweep through a century of complicated history, ranging from popular culture through political protest to demographic analysis. It takes seriously the now clichéd mantra of 'race, class, and gender,' by showing just how race and class and gender shaped and were shaped by the new idea that consumption defines what it means to be an American. It weaves local and even personal history through a national narrative, and ties it all into clear themes of struggle, triumph, and loss." Jennifer L. Hochschild, editor of Perspectives on Politics

Review:

"A Consumers? Republic is a magnificent, path-breaking achievement. Lizabeth Cohen lays bare the deeply transformative impact of mass prosperity on the texture of American social, political, and cultural life in the post-World War II era - its triumphs and costs, as well as its limitations. An unflaggingly provocative, indispensable book." David Kennedy, author of Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945

About the Author

Lizabeth Cohen is Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies in the Department of History at Harvard University. She is the author of Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919—1939, which won the Bancroft Prize and the Philip Taft Labor History Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written many articles and essays and is coauthor (with David Kennedy) of The American Pageant. She lives in Belmont, Massachusetts, with her husband and two daughters.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375707377
Author:
Cohen, Lizabeth
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Author:
Lizabeth Cohen
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Consumer behavior
Subject:
Social history
Subject:
Consumption (economics)
Subject:
HEALTH & FITNESS / Nutrition
Subject:
History - United States/20th Century
Subject:
Business & Economics-Development - Economic Development
Subject:
Business - General
Subject:
Sports and Fitness-Medicine Nutrition and Psychology
Subject:
US History - 20th Century
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20031231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
64 ILLUSTRATIONS AND 3 MAPS
Pages:
576
Dimensions:
8.04x5.22x1.15 in. 1.15 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Business » General
Business » Management
Business » Marketing
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » General
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$18.95 In Stock
Product details 576 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9780375707377 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Lizabeth Cohen's refreshingly bold and ambitious book is an effort to explain how the republic for which we stand came to be shaped by our economy's insatiable demand for demand. Cohen breaks sharply with an often frustrating tendency in contemporary historiography. For the past two or three decades, historians have been studiously thinking small....One hopes that her book will stimulate her colleagues to take similar risks, even the risk of emulating historians of previous generations whose efforts at intellectual synthesis and grand narrative are treated now with contempt by postmodern pygmies." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Review" by , "A surprising, engaging portrayal of the ways that mass consumption transformed America from the small scale to the large, as public authorities intervened massively and consequentially on behalf of their own visions of a consumer society. The book's illustrations alone offer a striking album of local life's texture across four turbulent decades of incessant change."
"Review" by , "The story is familiar. Historians and social critics have told it for years, from multiple angles. Yet few accounts are as provocative or original as A Consumers' Republic."
"Review" by , "Shopping malls, suburban neighborhoods, union halls, picket lines, and government offices. These are the places focused on in Cohen's compelling examination of the development of the United States as a consumers? republic since the late 1930s. In the process she transforms the way we understand postwar America." Daniel Horowitz, author of The Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939-1979
"Review" by , "A Consumer?s Republic is a real tour de force. It is impressive in its sheer sweep through a century of complicated history, ranging from popular culture through political protest to demographic analysis. It takes seriously the now clichéd mantra of 'race, class, and gender,' by showing just how race and class and gender shaped and were shaped by the new idea that consumption defines what it means to be an American. It weaves local and even personal history through a national narrative, and ties it all into clear themes of struggle, triumph, and loss."
"Review" by , "A Consumers? Republic is a magnificent, path-breaking achievement. Lizabeth Cohen lays bare the deeply transformative impact of mass prosperity on the texture of American social, political, and cultural life in the post-World War II era - its triumphs and costs, as well as its limitations. An unflaggingly provocative, indispensable book."
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