Bringing together for the first time the best of twenty-five years of unique critical work, Warren Susman takes us on a startling tour through the conflicts and events which have transformed the social, political, and cultural face of America in this century. Probing a rich panoply of images from the mass media and advertising, testing prevalent intellectual and economic theories, linking the revolutions in communications and technology to the rise of a new pantheon of popular heroes. Susman documents and analyzes the process through which the older, Puritan-republican, producer-capitalist culture has given way to the leisure-oriented, consumer society we now inhabit: the culture of abundance.
About Warren Susman
Warren I. Susman was a professor of history and director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Culture at Rutgers University. He died in 1985.
“Warren Susman has long been one of our most interesting and provocative cultural historians: shrewd in his choice of subjects, wise in his interpretations, pioneering in his approaches. This wonderful collection of pieces he has written over the past quarter century is cause for rejoicing. Ranging from the Puritans to the modern city, from the frontier to the New York World’s Fair of 1939, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Babe Ruth, Susman presents us with a historical feast that both nourishes us with its images and ideas and leaves up hungry to test its suggestions and take up its intellectual challenges.” —Lawrence W. Levine “Warren Susman’s essays have long been influential in American studies, and this book will have a transforming effect upon the field. It is a brilliant achievement—challenging, energizing, a model of interdisciplinary study, a work of impassioned scholarship that I believe will become a classic in American cultural history.” —Sacvan Bercovitch
“A truly path-breaking study of the shifts and changes in social and cultural forms—richly documented with unexpected examples both from ‘high culture’ and from the sights and sounds of everyday life.” —Merle Curti