"Peter Stearns argues that 20th century cultural styles stunt and stifle the emotions behind a veneer of cool. With a breathtaking scholarly sweep through the development of this concept of cool, he provokes and compels us to rethink our very understanding of the American character. Without a doubt, this is the best of Stearns's work on the history of emotions to date, and should be read by all who are concerned about the current crisis in American values."-Kevin White,University of Sussex, author of The First Sexual Revolution
"The history provided by Stearns . . . suggests that parents are unlikely to find the answer to this enduring problem in the advice books they consume in such vast quantities."-Commentary,
"Richly and deeply documented, this history offers readers a chance to follow an intriguing problem: Can and should emotions be suppressed? Channeled? Expressed spontaneously? The patterns of the past cover everything from mourning outfits for dolls and acceptable violence on the part of jealous husbands to the rise and fall of dating and the sanctions against expressing anger at school and at work. American Cool represents a major synthesis by one of the most innovative and accomplished historians of our time.”-John Burnham,Ohio State University
About the Author
Peter N. Stearns is Provost and University Professor at George Mason University. Since 1967, he has served as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Social History. His numerous books include World History in Documents; American Behavioral History; and Anxious Parents.