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From Memory to History: Television Versions of the Twentieth Century

From Memory to History: Television Versions of the Twentieth Century

by Jim Cullen


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Our understanding of history is often mediated by popular culture, and television series set in the past have provided some of our most indelible images of previous times. Yet such historical television programs always reveal just as much about the era in which they are produced as the era in which they are set; there are few more quintessentially late-90s shows than That ‘70s Show, for example.
From Memory to History takes readers on a journey through over fifty years of historical dramas and sitcoms that were set in earlier decades of the twentieth century. Along the way, it explores how comedies like M*A*S*H and Hogan’s Heroes offered veiled commentary on the Vietnam War, how dramas ranging like Mad Men echoed current economic concerns, and how The Americans and Halt and Catch Fire used the Cold War and the rise of the internet to reflect upon the present day. Cultural critic Jim Cullen is lively, informative, and incisive, and this book will help readers look at past times, present times, and prime time in a new light.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781978813816
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 04/16/2021
Pages: 255
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 16 - 18 Years

About the Author

JIM CULLEN is the author of numerous books, including The American Dream and Those Were the Days: Why All in the Family Still Matters. He has taught at Harvard, Brown, and Sarah Lawrence College, and is a member of the faculty of the newly established Greenwich Country Day High School in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Table of Contents

Introduction Television's History 1

1 Left to the Right

The Waltons as a 1970s Version of the 1930s 17

2 Camp History

Hogan's Heroes as a 1960s Version of the 1940s 45

3 A Funny War

M*A*S*H as a 1970s Version of the 1950s 69

4 Dream Advertisement

Mad Men as a 2000s Version of the 1960s 95

5 We're All All Right

That '70s Show as a 1990s Version of the 1970s 123

6 Domestic Front

The Americans as a 2010s Version of the 1980s 149

7 Programming Hope

Halt and Catch Fire as a 2010s Version of the 1990s 169

Conclusion Visualizing the Future of the Past 185

Acknowledgments 187

Notes 189

Index 207

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