Everything Was Better in America: Print Culture in the Great Depression

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $3.47
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 86%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $3.47   
  • New (6) from $20.00   
  • Used (5) from $3.47   


As a counterpart to research on the 1930s that has focused on liberal and radical writers calling for social revolution, David Welky offers this eloquent study of how mainstream print culture shaped and disseminated a message affirming conservative middle-class values and assuring its readers that holding to these values would get them through hard times. Through analysis of the era's most popular newspaper stories, magazines, and books, Welky examines how voices both outside and within the media debated the purposes of literature and the meaning of cultural literacy in a mass democracy. He presents lively discussions of such topics as the newspaper treatment of the Lindbergh kidnapping, issues of race in coverage of the 1936 Olympic games, domestic dynamics and gender politics in cartoons and magazines, Superman's evolution from a radical outsider to a spokesman for the people, and the popular consumption of such novels as the Ellery Queen mysteries, Gone with the Wind, and The Good Earth. Through these close readings, Welky uncovers the subtle relationship between the messages that mainstream media strategically crafted and those that their target audience wished to hear.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Provides a timely examination of the tension between conservative tendencies in the publishing business and the progressive liberalism that resulted from widespread disillusion directed at the capitalist system.”—American Historical Review

“A launching pad for students’ own exploration of values projected by mass media both today and in the past.”—Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252075049
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 5/2/2008
  • Series: History of Communication Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

David Welky is an assistant professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas. He is the coeditor of Charles A. Lindbergh: The Power and Peril of Celebrity, 1927-1941 and The Steelers Reader.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction "A Time Not to Rock the Boat" 1

Pt. 1 Newspapers

1 The Press Encounters the New Deal 17

2 Kidnapping America's Child 28

3 Olympic Feats of Americanism 45

4 The Gumps: America's Comic-Strip Family 67

Pt. 2 Magazines

5 How to Slant a Magazine 83

6 Life, the War, and Everything 96

7 Defining Womanhood in the Ladies' Home Journal 114

8 Patriot Number One, the Man of Steel 130

Pt. 3 Books

9 Mainstreaming the Book Industry 149

10 Finding Security in Best Sellers 160

11 Ellery Queen Restores Order 177

12 Gone With the Wind, but Not Forgotten 193

Conclusion: "Everything Was Better in America" 215

Notes 221

Index 251

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)