Blue-Collar Pop Culture: From NASCAR to Jersey Shore provides a sophisticated, accessible, and entertaining examination of the intersection between American popular culture and working-class life in America. Covering topics as diverse as the attacks of September 11th, union loyalties, religion, trailer parks, professional wrestling, and Elvis Presley, the essays in this two-volume work will appeal to general readers and be valuable to scholars and students studying American popular culture.
M. Keith Booker has selected fifteen of the most successful and innovative science fiction films of all time, and examined each of them at length--from cultural, technical and cinematic perspectives--to see where they came from and what they meant for the future of cinema and for America at large. From Invasion of the Body Snatchers to Star Wars, from Blade Runner to The Matrix, these landmark films have expressed our fears and dreams, our abilities and our deficiencies. In this deep-seeking investigation, we can all find something of ourselves that we recognize, as well as something that we've never recognized before.
The focus on a fairly small number of landmark films allows detailed attention to genuinely original movies, including: Forbidden Planet, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Blade Runner, The Terminator, Robocop, The Abyss, Independence Day, and The Matrix. This book is ideal for general readers interested in science fiction and film.
The volume focuses on socialist culture in the industrialized world, primarily Eastern Europe and the West. An introductory essay overviews socialist cultural productions of the 20th century, while the chapters that follow address a wide range of topics. These include Soviet socialist realist fiction and film musicals, the socialist drama of Bertolt Brecht, and British and American leftist fiction. The volume demonstrates that propagandistic Cold War depictions of socialism as a threat to artistic expression were inaccurate and misleading.
The contributors give special attention to the strong anticolonial legacy of socialism and the important role played by socialism in subsequent attempts to build viable postcolonial cultural identities. Included are chapters on creative works from China, Africa, and the Caribbean, as well as the works of multicultural artists from the United States who stand in relation to Third World cultures. The essays show that global socialist cultural production was rich and varied during the twentieth century and continues to be so, despite the tribulations experienced by socialism itself. While some of the chapters address theoretical concerns central to all socialist cultures, the volume focuses primarily on socialist cultures in those parts of the globe that were never fully inside either the Soviet or the American bloc.
In addition to well-known literary novels, such as Nabokov's Lolita, Booker explores a large body of leftist fiction, popular novels, and the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney. The book argues that while the canonical novels of the period employ a utopian aesthetic, that aesthetic tends to be very weak and is not reinforced by content. The leftist novels, on the other hand, employ a realist aesthetic but are utopian in their exploration of alternatives to capitalism. The study concludes that the utopian energies in cultural productions of the long 1950s are very weak, and that these works tend to dismiss utopian thinking as na DEGREESDive or even sinister. The weak utopianism in these works tends to be reflected in characteristics associated with postmodernism.
Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe is widely regarded as the most important of the numerous African novelists who gained global attention in the second half of the 20th century. Achebe is certainly the African writer best known in the West, and his first novel, Things Fall Apart, is a founding text of postcolonial African literature and regarded as one of the central works of world literature of the last 50 years. Though best known as a novelist, Achebe is also a critic, activist, and spokesman for African culture. This reference is a comprehensive and authoritative guide to his life and writings. Included are several hundred alphabetically arranged entries. Some of these are substantive summary discussions of Achebe's major works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Other topics include all of his major fictional characters and settings, important concepts and issues central to his writings, historical persons, places, and events relevant to his works, and influential texts by other writers. Entries are written by expert contributors and close with brief bibliographies. The volume also provides a general bibliography and chronology.
Disney, Pixar, and the Hidden Messages of Children's Films recaps the entire history of movies for young viewers--from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to this year's Up--then focuses on the extraordinary output of children's films in the last two decades. What Booker finds is that by and large, their lessons are decidedly, comfortably mainstream and any political subtext more often than not is inadvertent. Booker also offers some advice to parents for helping children read films in a more sophisticated way.
The book begins with a brief historical survey of the development of this important cultural phenomenon. It then provides detailed entries for more than 260 films associated with the American Left. The entries are arranged chronologically, so that the reader may trace the cinematic representation of the American Left across time. The entries include not only plot summaries, but also critical examinations of the political content and implications of the films. Included are discussions of such classic works as Citizen Kane and The Grapes of Wrath, along with considerations of more recent films, such as Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver, and Men with Guns. Two appendixes and index provide alphabetical access to the entries. The individual entries provide brief bibliographical citations, while the volume closes with a bibliography.
In Mad Men: A Cultural History, M. Keith Booker and Bob Batchelor offer an engaging analysis of the series, providing in-depth examinations of its many themes and nostalgic portrayals of the years from Camelot to Vietnam and beyond. Highly regarded cultural scholars and critics, Booker and Batchelor examine the show in its entirety, presenting readers with a deep but accessible exploration of the series, as well as look at its larger meanings and implications. This cultural history perspective reveals Mad Men’s critical importance as a TV series, as well as its role as a tool for helping viewers understand how they are shaped by history and culture.
As a showcase in America’s new “golden age of television,” Mad Men reveals the deep hold history and nostalgia have on viewers, particularly when combined with stunning visuals and intricate writing and storylines. With this volume as their guide, readers will enjoy contemplating the show’s place among the most lauded popular culture touchstones of the twenty-first century. As it engages with ideas central to the American experience—from the evolution of gender roles to family dynamics and workplace relationships—Mad Men: A Cultural History brings to life the significance of this profound yet entertaining series.
In Tony Soprano’s America: Gangsters, Guns, and Money, M. Keith Booker and Isra Daraiseh explore the central role of the series in American cultural history. While examining the elements that account for the show’s popularity and critical acclaim, the authors also contend that The Sopranos revolutionized the way audiences viewed television in general and cable programming as well. This book demonstrates how a show focused on an ethnic antihero somehow reflected common themes of contemporary American life, including ethnicity, class, capitalism, therapy, and family dynamics.
Providing a sophisticated yet accessible account of the groundbreaking series—a show that rivals film and literature for its beauty and stunning characterization of modern life—this book engages the reader with ideas central to the American experience. Tony Soprano’s America brings to life this profound television program in ways that will entertain, engage, and perhaps even challenge longtime viewers and critics.