Mad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through 1960s America
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Mad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through 1960s America

by Natasha Vargas-Cooper
     
 

Mad Men, AMC's Emmy-and Golden Globe-winning series, has dazzled viewers and critics alike with its deeply nostalgic portrayal of Madison Avenue's Golden Age. But behind the show's sumptuous set design, top-notch writing, and trance-inducing performances, high art is undeniably at play. In Mad Men Unbuttoned, journalist and Mad Men fanatic Natasha Vargas-Cooper

Overview

Mad Men, AMC's Emmy-and Golden Globe-winning series, has dazzled viewers and critics alike with its deeply nostalgic portrayal of Madison Avenue's Golden Age. But behind the show's sumptuous set design, top-notch writing, and trance-inducing performances, high art is undeniably at play. In Mad Men Unbuttoned, journalist and Mad Men fanatic Natasha Vargas-Cooper delves into the most fascinating and essential references from the early 1960s: the ads and the men who made them, the style, the sexual mores, the literature, and the politics of the time.

From Lucky Strike to Maidenform, gray flannel suits to Burt Cooper's Japonisme, Grace Kelly to John Cheever-Mad Men Unbuttoned examines iconic morsels from the show and the era. This book is not only the perfect glossary for the obsessive Mad Men fan, but also a vibrant, fully illustrated social history of a turbulent and unforgettable period in American culture.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Entering its fourth season on July 25, AMC's critically acclaimed TV series Mad Men takes place on Madison Avenue during the early 1960s in the fictional Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce ad agency. Inspired by the TV series, L.A. freelance writer Vargas-Cooper launched a nicely designed and engaging blog, the Footnotes of Mad Men, to survey not only the show but also the real-world historical and cultural artifacts of that period. Now her attractive blog has been adapted into an equally attractive book. As Vargas-Cooper sees it, the series is "about the culture clash and contradictions that occurred during the twilight of the Eisenhower era, the great societal shake-up of the 1960s" and its impact on modern America. She focuses on advertising, design, films, literature, politics, sex, style, and the workplace in order to probe "the most dramatic cultural shift in the 20th century." She begins by detailing all the series' regular characters and then moves on to profile real-life ad man Leo Burnett (Tony the Tiger, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the Marlboro Man), followed by everything from skinny ties, condoms, John Cheever and Frank O'Hara to Jackie Kennedy's White House tour on CBS and The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. All are neatly linked with specific TV episodes, making this both an entertaining read and the definitive companion book for the series. (July)
The New Yorker
“Possibly the richest of the “Mad Men” books...Mad Men Unbuttoned is a well-versed primer to the most literate show on television.”
The Oregonian (Portland)
“Mad Men Unbuttoned is a stylishly designed, intelligently written book.”
Women's Wear Daily
“Mad Men Unbuttoned is like an easy, vibrant reference tool for the thirtysomething, Sixties-obsessed set.”
Interview
“Mad Men Unbuttoned lends real-life context to the show’s most memorable scenes and references.”
New York Review of Books
“Mad Men Unbuttoned is likely to become a trivia-lover’s bible, as well as recommended reading for the inevitable college media-studies courses on this pop-cultural phenomenon.”
Penthouse
“A dazzling pop-culture history of the 1960s. [Natasha Vargas-Cooper’s] zeal for detail is unparalleled. This is an opinionated, sexy history book for those who hate studying.”
Nina DiSesa
“Natasha-Vargas Cooper nails the 1960s and the ad industry during this fascinating era. A good, fast, joyful read.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061991004
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
07/20/2010
Pages:
231
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

What People are saying about this

Nina DiSesa
“Natasha-Vargas Cooper nails the 1960s and the ad industry during this fascinating era. A good, fast, joyful read.”

Meet the Author

After graduating from UCLA with a BA in history and working as a union organizer in L.A. and Washington, D.C., for a number of years, Natasha Vargas-Cooper began her writing career as a film critic for E! Entertainment. Her reporting, essays, and interviews have appeared in print and Web publications ranging from the Daily Beast, New York magazine, BlackBook, Gawker, and Interview. She is currently the Los Angeles correspondent for The Awl.

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