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Hoarders, Doomsday Preppers, and the Culture of Apocalypse

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1137469403
ISBN-10: 1137469404
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Editorial Reviews


"Foster (English, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln), an avowed radical environmentalist, turns a dark lens on film and television of the last 60 years.

Comprises five related essays dealing with "apocotainment," the societal repercussions of the Cold War, the relationship of coprophagia to capitalism, doomsday obsession, and the planet 'A.P.' (after people), among other topics.

[The bibliography runs] from Dante through Dwight Eisenhower to Elizabeth Kolbert's
The Sixth Extinction. This book will intrigue those interested in media studies. Recommended.
CHOICE, 2015.

"Gwendolyn Audrey Foster writes passionately about the debased media-scape of our death-worshipping culture. She probes into our collective fascination with an Earth without us, even as we continue activities that are sure to lead to yet more ecological devastation and mass extinction. Hoarders, Doomsday Preppers, and the Culture of Apocalypse is not a comforting book, but it is an eloquent call from a voice crying in the wilderness: a warning that we ignore at our peril." – Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor, English, Wayne State University, USA

"In this urgent and important book, Gwendolyn Audrey Foster exposes and explores the multiform obscenities - of violence, wealth, consumption, ownership, avarice, aggression, and more - that infect the politics, businesses, entertainments, and mentalities of today's narcissistic, fear-peddling, death-celebrating culture, shining a laser-sharp spotlight on excesses of sexism, neo-liberalism, speciesism, capitalism, and nationalism in the contemporary media." - David Sterritt, Columbia University, USA
"In her newest book, Hoarders, Doomsday Preppers, and the Culture of Apocalypse, Gwendolyn Audrey Foster explores the excesses of late-capitalist American consumerism; her exploration of media representation of gluttony, hoarding, waste, and debt is compelling reading for anyone interested in contemporary popular culture." - Patrice Petro, Professor, English, Film Studies, and Global Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

"Gwendolyn Audrey Foster challenges us to confront the apocalyptic narratives of our time in her engaging and thought-provoking book. Through our desire for what she terms 'apocotainment' - the apocalypse as entertainment for the masses - we eagerly digest the mediatized horrors of our planet's ecological destruction on screen as we continue to deny it as reality in our own front yards. Foster's book is a wakeup call to take notice of the preciousness of our common humanity, before we confront the death of our planet in real life." - Valérie K. Orlando, Professor, French and Francophone Literature and Film, University of Maryland, USA

About the Author

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster is Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is author of numerous books in the areas of film studies/cultural studies with books and articles on race, gender, and class, as well as film history and popular culture.

Foster's most recent book is entitled Disruptive Feminisms: Raced, Gendered, and Classed Bodies in Film, published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Visit for more information on Foster's publications.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 82 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Pivot (June 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1137469404
  • ISBN-13: 978-1137469403
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster is a Professor in the Department of English and Film at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Foster has authored, co-authored and edited numerous books on film, literature, and popular culture.Visit for more information on publications written and edited by Foster.

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster's books include "Disruptive Feminisms: Raced, Gendered, and Classed Bodies in Film"; "Identity and Memory: The Films of Chantal Akerman"; "Class Passing: Performing Social Mobility in Popular Culture"; "Hoarders, Doomsday Preppers, and the Culture of Apocalypse", "Performing Whiteness: Postmodern Re/Constructions"; "Troping The Body: Gender, Etiquette and Performance"; "Captive Bodies: Postcolonial Subjectivity in the Cinema"; "Women Filmmakers of the African and Asian Diaspora"; and "Women Film Directors: An International Bio-Critical Dictionary."

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster and Wheeler Winston Dixon's co-authored and co-edited books include "Experimental Cinema: The Film Reader"; "A Short History of Film," 1st and 2nd eds.; "21st Century Hollywood: Movies in the Era of Transformation"; "Breve historia del cine"- Spanish translation of "A Short History of Film"; "Historia del cine mundial"- Spanish translation of the 2nd edition of "A Short History of Film."

Foster and Dixon are Series Editors of the Rutgers book series, "Quick Takes: Movies and Popular Culture," as well as the Anthem book series, "New Perspectives on World Cinema."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Bean TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
“Hoarders, Doomsday Preppers, and the Culture of Apocalypse” is a fascinating read exploring twenty-first century American culture. Foster paints a bleak picture of a sick society, with numerous film and television illustrations to validate her argument. It's in colorful, descriptive language that speaks pessimistically of a culture that revolves around death, violence, doomsday, gluttony, hoarding and more. While I found her viewpoints extreme, this is definitely an intelligent and thought-provoking book.

The beginning of Chapter 1 says: There's no escaping it; in the 21st century, we live in a world that celebrates death, “prepping” for the end, and wasteful consumption as the supposed “norms” of society.

I would agree that these of types of attitudes exist in our culture. Although, in my personal view, they are not as prevalent as the author implies. With that said – I still love this book! It is well-thought-out and challenging. This is the type of book you'll keep thinking and talking about long after you finish reading it. Highly recommended!
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By Brianna on July 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I have received the hardcover version of this book as a gift and I am honestly sharing that this is one of the most thought provoking books I have read in the last couple of years. It is a study dedicated to nowadays world, in all its obscenity and admiration of violence. An in depth overview of the 21st century cultural habits of American people, and all the alienation form human nature that comes with all of that. From today's famous TV shows and the messages that they convey, to the overwhelming social media environment - this book covers it all sharing a very interesting perspective on facts and bad influences. A really great and interesting reading.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jorge Alberto Orduna SR. on July 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I got an advance copy of this book, and it's an amazing piece of work.

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster takes on a subject matter that seems to have become ubiquitous in the past few decades. Once only held within the confines of cult followings, and the minds of horror movie fans, the idea of the end being celebrated as an entertainment medium reflects modern society. Foster presents an argument for the oversaturation of death, preparing for the end, and visions of a final chapter in humanity through the lens of pop culture. The shocking thing is not so much the saturation, as much as the lack of empathy that exists within the programming. A disregard for others is the backbone of a lot of the programs that are filtering through pop culture, and it’s nothing short of shocking.

Foster pulls no punches up front, hitting the reader hard with the truth. Turn on cable television and you’ll find marathons of shows that reenact death in all forms. They become entertainment pieces, and comedy segments about how someone else’s idiocy, or lack of luck did them in. From programs like “1,000 Ways To Die” and beyond, there is a venerable feast of death proliferating popular culture and yet the real world is full of terror. Foster points out right away the atrocities that people find entertaining are also fueled by everyday people like you and I. We pay for corporations to terrorize us, Foster claims, and it’s true. Even the death and unfortunate end of others becomes a vehicle for advertising. It hurts to read, but it’s absolute truth.

It’s not just a feast of death that is on the broadcast channels, as Foster points out more in the past than you may realize. The movies of the 1980s, propaganda masked in entertainment from the Cold War Era is detailed.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By -X- on July 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I have great respect for this author and cannot wait to read this book! However its $60 pricetag is my entire bank balance today so it will have to wait til I can afford it.

Meanwhile I have a couple of clear thoughts I would like to add to the conversation. It is human nature to be attracted partly to what we fear because adrenal stress prompts a hypervigilant response of alert fascination with danger in part to protect us from it and learn about it. A sharkphobic friend of mine cannot turn away from SharkWeek on cable tv each summer. We naturally seek knowledge about what we fear in an effort to have some control over our survival.

So much of what drives the apocalyptic conversation is fear. The unfortunate coincidence in the calendar change took ahold in pop culture consciousness (see in such a way that it initially embedded into our brains as a joke, an entertainment. Then climate change awareness, the MASSIVE social change caused by mobile technology and the internet, and in the West especially, the spectre of 911 induced a paradigm shift. Political agendas of some groups and for-profit entertainment has continued to exploit this fear. This drives a lot of the prepping and doomsaying. You don't have to be as sure as Noah that a flood is coming. You can build a boat on spec. Yet when everybody starts doing it, it no longer seems like a long shot so much as hedging your bets. The government agencies that papered NYC with lists of what should go in our Go Bags, even before the big blackout and Superstorm Sandy has prompted people to think differently about what we need. I have a neighbor eliminating all music and books and films from his house to store on the cloud.
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