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Americana the Beautiful: Mid-century Culture in Kodachrome Hardcover – May 30, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Angel City Pr; First Edition edition (May 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883318548
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883318543
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 9.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,286,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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See all 7 customer reviews
Great historical books.
EMMELINE. FLETCHER
What a wonderful trip we took every summer when we visited my mother's family in South Carolina.
Mark Podmore
This book will have you longing for those times again.
L. Patterson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on November 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Another selection of snaps rescued by Charles Phoenix just before they might have ended up in the local landfill. In the same format as his excellent 'Southern Californialand' (ISBN 1883318424) and so much better than the earlier 'God Bless Americana' book. The two hundred amateur slides feature a rich seam of everyday life full of white middle class detail (which of course does raise the question: didn't colored folk take photos back then or perhaps they never junk them).

Overall I thought the photo selection was fascinating and grouping them in themes worked well. The last few pages have some intriguing architectural and transport slides like the 1964 flying saucer style State Capitol Bank in Oklahoma City or the late fifties General Motors Aerotrain pulling into a station. On page thirty-six onward there are several pages of people at home showing all kinds of domestic activity, food on tables, kitchens, watching home movies or just enjoying company. It's interesting looking at these photos because they are so unlike anything taken by professionals though sometimes the composition, lighting and color does lift them out of the mundane.

Like 'Southern Californialand' the editorial format works well with photos one to a page, allowing for a deep caption or several slides butted together. My only criticism is that sometimes out of focus images are too large, for example the soft-focus Jefferson Drive-in on page ninety-seven would have worked better much smaller or even rejected. Also captions frequently describe in words what the reader can obviously see in the picture but fortunately many of them also have plenty of historical background detail about things in the photos.

Charles Phoenix has hit on a successful publishing genre and there surely will be more titles to come but until the next one you can follow the latest finds on his website.

***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark Podmore on March 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Americana the Beautiful is a trip down memory lane; especially for us Baby Boomers.

These old shapshots are great! What a wonderful trip we took every summer when we visited my mother's family in South Carolina. Remember those luggage racks on station wagons? I remember being on the New Jersey Turnpike one time and luggage that was tied to the roof blew off. Dad had to pull our station wagon to the side of the road and pick up a suitcase full of diapers for my younest brother!

I have fond memories of the Dairy Queen and the Good Humor man: the sweet smell mixed with raw exhaust fumes! What great times those were!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By EMMELINE. FLETCHER on March 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
l have always been fascinated by the 1950s, it was like no other era in history,The American dream, good old fashion values, and families.It was portrayed as an era of blissful harmony and peacful existence for all. When l came across this book by charles phoenix, l was delighted, you cannot be amazed by this book of ordinary people, capturing their lives, on film in excellent quality. The fact that these pictures still remain, in wonderful quality taken by amateur photographers is truefully historical. If you never lived through the 1950s, and l didnt, because lm 35 years old, and your only glimpse of this era is in the movies, then this book is a real gem. His other book, californialand, is equally great book, which he showes more of these great photos of ordinary people living in the 50s. Great historical books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AnneM on September 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great trip back in time. The pictures are beautiful and remind me of a lot of family photos, big parties with fancy salads and lace table cloths. The good old days look great in the pages of this book. Can't wait to get his other books.
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