The War in American Culture

Author: Lewis A. Erenberg
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226215105
Format: PDF
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The War in American Culture explores the role of World War II in the transformation of American social, cultural, and political life. World War II posed a crisis for American culture: to defeat the enemy, Americans had to unite across the class, racial and ethnic boundaries that had long divided them. Exploring government censorship of war photography, the revision of immigration laws, Hollywood moviemaking, swing music, and popular magazines, these essays reveal the creation of a new national identity that was pluralistic, but also controlled and sanitized. Concentrating on the home front and the impact of the war on the lives of ordinary Americans, the contributors give us a rich portrayal of family life, sexuality, cultural images, and working-class life in addition to detailed consideration of African Americans, Latinos, and women who lived through the unsettling and rapidly altered circumstances of wartime America.

Books and Libraries in American Society during World War II

Author: Patti Clayton Becker
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135467722
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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World War II presented America's public libraries with the daunting challenge of meeting new demands for war-related library services and materials with Depression-weakened collections, inadequate budgets and demoralized staff, in addition to continuing to serve the library's traditional clientele of women and children seeking recreational reading. This work examines how libraries could respond to their communities need through the use of numerous primary and secondary sources.

From Coveralls to Zoot Suits

Author: Elizabeth R. Escobedo
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469602067
Format: PDF, Mobi
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During World War II, unprecedented employment avenues opened up for women and minorities in U.S. defense industries at the same time that massive population shifts and the war challenged Americans to rethink notions of race. At this extraordinary historical moment, Mexican American women found new means to exercise control over their lives in the home, workplace, and nation. In From Coveralls to Zoot Suits, Elizabeth R. Escobedo explores how, as war workers and volunteers, dance hostesses and zoot suiters, respectable young ladies and rebellious daughters, these young women used wartime conditions to serve the United States in its time of need and to pursue their own desires. But even after the war, as Escobedo shows, Mexican American women had to continue challenging workplace inequities and confronting family and communal resistance to their broadening public presence. Highlighting seldom heard voices of the "Greatest Generation," Escobedo examines these contradictions within Mexican families and their communities, exploring the impact of youth culture, outside employment, and family relations on the lives of women whose home-front experiences and everyday life choices would fundamentally alter the history of a generation.

The Challenge of American History

Author: Louis P. Masur
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 9780801862229
Format: PDF
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In The Challenge of American History, Louis Masur brings together a sampling of recent scholarship to determine the key issues preoccupying historians of American history and to contemplate the discipline's direction for the future. The fifteen summary essays included in this volume allow professional historians, history teachers, and students to grasp in a convenient and accessible form what historians have been writing about.

Warfare State

Author: James T. Sparrow
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199831637
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Although common wisdom and much scholarship assume that "big government" gained its foothold in the United States under the auspices of the New Deal during the Great Depression, in fact it was the Second World War that accomplished this feat. Indeed, as the federal government mobilized for war it grew tenfold, quickly dwarfing the New Deal's welfare programs. Warfare State shows how the federal government vastly expanded its influence over American society during World War II. Equally important, it looks at how and why Americans adapted to this expansion of authority. Through mass participation in military service, war work, rationing, price control, income taxation, and the war bond program, ordinary Americans learned to live with the warfare state. They accepted these new obligations because the government encouraged all citizens to think of themselves as personally connected to the battle front, linking their every action to the fate of the combat soldier. As they worked for the American Soldier, Americans habituated themselves to the authority of the government. Citizens made their own counter-claims on the state-particularly in the case of industrial workers, women, African Americans, and most of all, the soldiers. Their demands for fuller citizenship offer important insights into the relationship between citizen morale, the uses of patriotism, and the legitimacy of the state in wartime. World War II forged a new bond between citizens, nation, and government. Warfare State tells the story of this dramatic transformation in American life.

Last Team Standing

Author: Matthew Algeo
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
ISBN: 1613748884
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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During World War II, the National Football League faced a crisis unimaginable today: a shortage of players. By 1943, so many players were in the armed forces that the league was forced to fold one team (the Cleveland Rams) and merge two others: the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles. And so the Steagles were born, with a roster that included military draft rejects, aging stars lured out of retirement, and even a couple of active servicemen who managed to get leave for the games. The team’s center was deaf in one ear, its wide receiver was blind in one eye, and its halfback had bleeding ulcers. One player was so old he'd never played football with a helmet. Yet, somehow, this motley bunch managed to post a winning record—the first for the Eagles and just the second for the Steelers. But Last Team Standing isn’t just about football. It’s also about life in the United States during World War II, a time of fear and hope, of sacrifice and momentous change. It’s about rationing, racism, and Rosie the Riveter. It’s about draft boards, bond drives, and movie stars. Above all, it’s about the men and women of the Greatest Generation who couldn’t fight, but helped win the war in immeasurable ways. Matthew Algeo is the author of Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure and The President Is a Sick Man. An award-winning journalist, Algeo has reported from four continents for public radio’s All Things Considered, Marketplace, and Morning Edition.

Dictators Democracy and American Public Culture

Author: Benjamin L. Alpers
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 0807861227
Format: PDF
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Focusing on portrayals of Mussolini's Italy, Hitler's Germany, and Stalin's Russia in U.S. films, magazine and newspaper articles, books, plays, speeches, and other texts, Benjamin Alpers traces changing American understandings of dictatorship from the late 1920s through the early years of the Cold War. During the early 1930s, most Americans' conception of dictatorship focused on the dictator. Whether viewed as heroic or horrific, the dictator was represented as a figure of great, masculine power and effectiveness. As the Great Depression gripped the United States, a few people--including conservative members of the press and some Hollywood filmmakers--even dared to suggest that dictatorship might be the answer to America's social problems. In the late 1930s, American explanations of dictatorship shifted focus from individual leaders to the movements that empowered them. Totalitarianism became the image against which a view of democracy emphasizing tolerance and pluralism and disparaging mass movements developed. First used to describe dictatorships of both right and left, the term "totalitarianism" fell out of use upon the U.S. entry into World War II. With the war's end and the collapse of the U.S.-Soviet alliance, however, concerns about totalitarianism lay the foundation for the emerging Cold War.

Boardwalk of Dreams

Author: Bryant Simon
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199883297
Format: PDF, Mobi
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During the first half of the twentieth century, Atlantic City was the nation's most popular middle-class resort--the home of the famed Boardwalk, the Miss America Pageant, and the board game Monopoly. By the late 1960s, it had become a symbol of urban decay and blight, compared by journalists to bombed-out Dresden and war-torn Beirut. Several decades and a dozen casinos later, Atlantic City is again one of America's most popular tourist spots, with thirty-five million visitors a year. Yet most stay for a mere six hours, and the highway has replaced the Boardwalk as the city's most important thoroughfare. Today the city doesn't have a single movie theater and its one supermarket is a virtual fortress protected by metal detectors and security guards. In this wide-ranging book, Bryant Simon does far more than tell a nostalgic tale of Atlantic City's rise, near death, and reincarnation. He turns the depiction of middle-class vacationers into a revealing discussion of the boundaries of public space in urban America. In the past, he argues, the public was never really about democracy, but about exclusion. During Atlantic City's heyday, African Americans were kept off the Boardwalk and away from the beaches. The overly boisterous or improperly dressed were kept out of theaters and hotel lobbies by uniformed ushers and police. The creation of Atlantic City as the "Nation's Playground" was dependent on keeping undesirables out of view unless they were pushing tourists down the Boardwalk on rickshaw-like rolling chairs or shimmying in smoky nightclubs. Desegregation overturned this racial balance in the mid-1960s, making the city's public spaces more open and democratic, too open and democratic for many middle-class Americans, who fled to suburbs and suburban-style resorts like Disneyworld. With the opening of the first casino in 1978, the urban balance once again shifted, creating twelve separate, heavily guarded, glittering casinos worlds walled off from the dilapidated houses, boarded-up businesses, and lots razed for redevelopment that never came. Tourists are deliberately kept away from the city's grim reality and its predominantly poor African American residents. Despite ten of thousands of buses and cars rolling into every day, gambling has not saved Atlantic City or returned it to its glory days. Simon's moving narrative of Atlantic City's past points to the troubling fate of urban America and the nation's cultural trajectory in the twentieth century, with broad implications for those interested in urban studies, sociology, planning, architecture, and history.