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

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Overview

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 message that mainstream media strategically crafted and those that their target audience wished to hear.

About the Author:
David Welky is an assistant professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas

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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.

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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

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