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

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9780375707377: A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America

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.

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From the Back Cover:

"Lizabeth Cohen’s rich, compelling study demolishes forever the myth
that suburbs provided a refuge from the social conflicts that continue
to shape the American century. A Consumers’Republic is one of the best
histories of our times that has ever been written."
--Michael Kazin, co-author of America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s

"Lizabeth Cohen has done it again. Following her award winning book, Making
a New Deal, a Consumer?s Republic is another innovative study of social and
political history. This interesting and well research volume on mass
consumption in the U.S. after World War II will be widely discussed and
cited for many years."
--William Julius Wilson, author of When Work Disappears: The World of the New
Urban Poor.

"Lizabeth Cohen's A Consumers' Republic is pure joy: a brilliantly revealing, sometimes painful portrait of consumer activists of the 60's, 70's, and 80's, situated in rich, but until now unexamined historical context. Here, too, are the lessons for the future if the next generation is to reclaim the buoyant democratic promise of the best of our consumer impulses."
-- Michael Pertschuk, Former Chair, Federal Trade Commission

"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

"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

"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

"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

“Few accounts are as provocative or original as A Consumers’ Republic . . . a book rich in detail and perception.”
–David Oshinsky, New York Times Book Review

“An ambitious attempt to fuse deep scholarship with journalistic reporting techniques to produce a work accessible to general readers . . . the book is full of useful insights.”
–Allan Sloan, New York Times

“Cohen teases out the subject . . . into a big-canvas narrative format while tending closely to the critical question of how fitfully the consumers’ paradise of our postwar social order lived up to its bold promise of prosperity for all.”
–Chris Lehmann, Washington Post Book World

“This magisterial work illuminates the complexities of social and economic mobility in modern America . . . The significant strengths are manifold. The research is rich and deep [and] Cohen’s organization a model of clarity.”
–Michael Kammen, Boston Globe

“Refreshingly bold and ambitious.”
–Alan Wolfe, The New Republic

“Superb. . . Cohen’s sweeping account. . . provides a wealth of insights–and cautions.”
–Nancy Tomes, The Women’s Review of Books

“Creative, provocative . . . a substantial, illuminating and sophisticated study that makes a genuine contribution to postwar American history.”
–Eric Arnesan, Chicago Tribune

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.

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Descrizione libro Random House USA Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780375707377

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Descrizione libro Random House USA Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780375707377

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Descrizione libro Random House USA Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. 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. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780375707377

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