Diners, Bowling Alleys, and Trailer Parks: Chasing the American Dream in the Postwar Consumer Cultureby Andrew Hurley
The years immediately following World War II witnessed a dramatic transformation of America's working-class suburbs, driven by postwar prosperity and a burgeoning consumer culture. Chrome and neon were the new currency in this revitalized consumer culture, and no postwar consumer products trafficked more heavily in this currency than diners, bowling alleys, and trailer parks, through these three quintessentially American institutions, Andrew Hurley examines the struggle of blue-collar Americans to attain the good life after tow long decades of depression and war.
Diners, bowling alleys, and trailer parks shed their hardscrabble origins and unsavory reputation in the postwar years, becoming places where blue-collar families announced and celebrated their arrival into the middle class. Touted as a force for egalitarianism and inclusion, they nonetheless became, more often than not, battlegrounds where deep racial, ethnic, class, gender, and generational divides were revealed.
Andrew Hurley tells this story of the humble origins, explosive growth, and gradual decline of the diner, bowling alley, and trailer park in expert fashion. This is substantial cultural and social history that also knows how to entertain as it opens a revealing window onto the larger history of post-war America.
About the Author:
Andrew Hurley is Associate Professor of History at the University of Missouri and author of Environmental Inequalities. He lives in St. Louis.
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