Winner of the 2001 Ray and Pat Browne National Book Award for Outstanding Textbook, given by the Popular Culture Association From Ken Burns's documentaries to historical dramas such as Roots, from A&E's Biography series to CNN, television has become the primary source for historical information for tens of millions of Americans today. Why has television become such a respected authority? What falsehoods enter our collective memory as truths? How is one to know what is real and what is imagined -- or ignored -- by producers, directors, or writers? Gary Edgerton and Peter Rollins have collected a group of essays that answer these and many other questions. The contributors examine the full spectrum of historical genres, but also institutions such as the History Channel and production histories of such series as The Jack Benny Show, which ran for fifteen years. The authors explore the tensions between popular history and professional history, and the tendency of some academics to declare the past "off limits" to nonscholars. Several of them point to the tendency for television histories to embed current concerns and priorities within the past, as in such popular shows as Quantum Leap and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. The result is an insightful portrayal of the power television possesses to influence our culture.
"Jacksonian and Antebellum Age: People and Perspectives" spans the "age of the common man" by focusing on the everyday citizens who helped drive the big social changes of the times--or were simply caught up in them. The coverage takes readers into the lives of the frontiersmen, townspeople, women, children, religious groups, abolitionists, slaves, slave traders, and others who effected, and were affected by, the history of those times.
"Jacksonian and Antebellum Age" explores a pivotal era in American history, a time that saw the return of the two-party system, heightened voter turnout, and the gathering of the abolitionist movement. As this volume demonstrates, no study of these defining events is complete without understanding how they were shaped by the country's least celebrated citizens.