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By Martin Halliwell

This e-book presents a stimulating account of the dominant cultural different types of Nineteen Fifties the USA: fiction and poetry; theatre and function; movie and tv; tune and radio; and the visible arts. via targeted statement and concentrated case reviews of influential texts and occasions - from Invisible guy to West facet tale, from Disneyland to the Seattle World's reasonable, from Rear Window to The american citizens - the booklet examines the way modernism and the chilly struggle provide frames of reference for figuring out the trajectory of postwar tradition. the 2 center goals of this quantity are to chart the altering complexion of yankee tradition within the years following global battle II and to supply readers with a serious research of 'the 1950s'. The ebook offers an highbrow context for impending Nineteen Fifties American tradition and considers the historic influence of the last decade on fresh social and cultural advancements

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Sample text

Was Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking (the bestselling book of 1954 behind the Bible) a genuine attempt to help individuals achieve autonomy or was it a form of cheap commercialism with Peale the master salesman? Of course, none of these questions has a straight answer. But, taking a cue from the popular cold war television series I Led Three Lives (1953–6), it seemed that in the 1950s all univocal statements were open to subversion – a reading that strains against the ‘right and wrong’, ‘good and bad’ logic of Truman’s and Eisenhower’s statements.

France was vigorously promoted in tourist brochures in the early 1950s, and the favourable exchange rate encouraged many Americans to sojourn in Europe. The iron curtain that the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill detected was moving steadily west across Europe was blocked by the divided city of Berlin, but also halted by the spread of American culture across the Atlantic. There was European opposition though. Anti-American sentiments and French cultural superiority were rife. 72 Nevertheless, many Americans saw Paris as their point of connection to Europe, both geographically and culturally.

11 But, despite Plath’s view, early-decade worries receded during Eisenhower’s presidency. The temporary waning of cold war fears has led some critics to focus on 1954 to 1958 as a defining period of the consumer boom. 12 Nixon and Khrushchev’s live ‘kitchen debate’ at the American National Exhibition in Moscow in June 1959 signalled a possible end to the cold war, which did not fully re-ignite until the Cuban Missile crisis of autumn 1962. There were key moments in the mid-1950s when cold war fears reemerged: in 1956 when the Soviet Union invaded Hungary after the Hungarian withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact and in 1957 when the Soviet satellite Sputnik 1 was launched into space.

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