Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era / Edition 20

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When Homeward Bound first appeared in 1988, it altered the way we understood Cold War America. The post-World War II era was thought of as a time when Americans turned away from politics to enjoy the fruits of peace and prosperity, while their leaders remained preoccupied with the dangers of the Atomic Age. Elaine Tyler May demonstrated that the Cold War infused life on every level from the boardroom to the bedroom. This new edition includes up-to-date information and references, along with an epilogue that examines how the legacy of the Cold War has shaped America since September 11, 2001.

Elaine May mounts a compelling argument about the relationship between the post-war rush into a new domesticity and the spread of Cold War ideology.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
May history, Minnesota seeks to reconcile two prevailing but contradictory images of the 1950s: the notion of domestic tranquility and happiness amidst the fears and tensions of the Cold War. She does so by locating American family life within the larger political culture and by arguing that the retreat to the privacy and security of the home was a response to the era's political insecurities. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including data on 300 couples, she finds ideological connections between Cold War policies and conservative social ``norms.'' A provocative thesis that will stir debate. Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., N.J.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465010202
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 9/22/2008
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 20
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 126,878
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Elaine Tyler May is Regents Professor of American Studies and History at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Barren in the Promised Land, and she has written for Ms., the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and other publications. She is the former President of the American Studies Association and President-Elect of the Organization of American Historians. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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Table of Contents


1 Containment at Home: Cold War, Warm Hearth 19

2 Depression: Hard Times at Home 39

3 War and Peace: Fanning the Home Fires 58

4 Explosive Issues: Sex, Women, and the Bomb 89

5 Brinkmanship: Sexual Containment on the Home Front 109

6 Baby Boom and Birth Control: The Reproductive Consensus 129

7 The Commodity Gap: Consumerism and the Modern Home 153

8 Hanging Together: For Better Or for Worse 174

9 The End of Containment: The Baby Boom Comes of Age 198

Epilogue Echoes of the Cold War: The Aftermath of September 11, 2001 217

Appendices 229

Notes 249

Index 289

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