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Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940 [Paperback]

Roland Marchand
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 18, 1986 0520058852 978-0520058859 Reprint
It has become impossible to imagine our culture without advertising. But how and why did advertising become a determiner of our self-image? Advertising the American Dream looks carefully at the two decades when advertising discovered striking new ways to play on our anxieties and to promise solace for the masses.

As American society became more urban, more complex, and more dominated by massive bureaucracies, the old American Dream seemed threatened. Advertisers may only have dimly perceived the profound transformations America was experiencing. However, the advertising they created is a wonderfully graphic record of the underlying assumptions and changing values in American culture. With extensive reference to the popular media—radio broadcasts, confession magazines, and tabloid newspapers—Professor Marchand describes how advertisers manipulated modern art and photography to promote an enduring "consumption ethic."

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Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940 + Decoding Advertisements (Ideas in Progress)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"A convincing and perceptive analysis that provides a careful sociological portrait of advertising agency people in the 1920s and 1930s. Marchand has rare talent for bringing out things in the ads that the reader would not have seen alone."—Michael Schudson, University of California, San Diego

"This work illuminates some of the most important developments in twentieth-century America."—T.J. Jackson Lears, Rutgers University

About the Author

Roland Marchand (1933-1997) was Professor of History at the University of California, Davis, and authored numerous works on American cultural history.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Reprint edition (September 18, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520058852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520058859
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 6.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Probing Account of Advertising 1920-1940 April 6, 2000
Format:Paperback
Roland Marchand's book is an excellent analysis and history of the advertising industry's move towards modernization from the 20s to the 40s. Beautifully illustrated and entertainingly written, Marchand's book lays out important paradigms for the analysis of advertising of the period. His accounts of the different advertising "parables" created during the time to sell more and more consumer goods is fascinating. A must-read.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read December 30, 2000
Format:Paperback
Marchand's book is an excellent overview of print ads from 1920-1940. Drawing upon copious research, Marchand makes the case that many of the features of modern print ads first appeared during this time period. Ads from Lysol and Lucky Strike are featured as well as some from lesser-known companies. Innovations such as the use of color and the use of the dramatic monologue are also featured. A must -read for those interested in history, business or graphic arts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I learned very much! January 31, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was bought and required for my media communications class at University of Pittsburgh. When I started I knew very little about the subject and when I finished I learned very much. Plus the book helped my understanding and enjoyment immensely.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars But how may americans saw the ad? October 2, 2005
Format:Paperback
My only problem with Marchand is that he does not, and really, cannot gauge the effect these ads had on people. While the book is insightfull, well written, and full of intellectal tidbits, that one weakness does tend to bother.

Overall, a very good read that provides a nice comparision and contrast with other authors like Lizabeth Cohen.
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1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unnessesary February 6, 2009
Format:Paperback
chillin on my floor cuz i had to drop the class because it was 40 min away and i was unaware until i tried to find it.
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