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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I read this collection with enormous pleasure. The essays are smart, creative, and original. Writing on matters from TV technology to the history of advertising, and from the early civil rights movement to analogies between Jews and nineteenth-century dandies, the contributors illuminate what turns out to be a very rich and charismatic cultural object. I think that Mad Men, Mad World will make a real splash."—Bruce Robbins, author of Perpetual War: Cosmopolitanism from the Viewpoint of Violence


"I read this collection with enormous pleasure. The essays are smart, creative, and original. Writing on matters from TV technology to the history of advertising, and from the early civil rights movement to analogies between Jews and nineteenth-century dandies, the contributors illuminate what turns out to be a very rich and charismatic cultural object. I think that Mad Men, Mad World will make a real splash."
(Bruce Robbins, author of Perpetual War: Cosmopolitanism from the Viewpoint of Violence)

"The essays assembled in this collection pay careful, astute analytical attention to one of American television's most significant contemporary series. Deepening its approach far beyond that of standard appreciations of 'quality TV,' this book illuminates Mad Men’s complex, powerful engagement with capitalism, national identity, race, and gender at a time when these categories are so evidently in flux."
(Diane Negra, coeditor of Interrogating Postfeminism: Gender and the Politics of Popular Culture)

"What a treat for me to delve into this work with so much academic and intellectual rigor—I love it!"
(Phil Abraham, director, Mad Men)

Mad Men, Mad World's brilliance is that it analyzes storylines and characters from completely unexpected angles. . . . These are deeply considered pieces that truly spark intellectual discussion. It's a mad world, indeed, but this book helps to bring some order to the chaos.”
(Natalie Papailiou Shelf Awareness for Readers)

“Just as Mad Men charms its viewers by using sex, drugs, snappy banter, and pretty people to make heavy topics (sexism, racism, dreams diffused) palatable, the editors of Mad Men, Mad World trust that some TV glamour will get readers interested in digesting academic theories. It's not wrong. Full of dense, fascinating writing, Mad Men, Mad World, from Duke University Press, takes stock of ‘sex, politics, style & the 1960s’ in a series of essays by academics, theorizing about Mad Men.”
(Diana Clarke Village Voice)

“An interesting conversation.”
(Candace Opper Bitch)

“There is much else in the book that I found interesting and useful in thinking about Mad Men, and I think it will be stimulating to readers outside the ranks of aca fandom.”
(Scott McLemee Inside Higher Ed)

“Throughout the book are intelligent discussions dissecting the central themes addressed in the show, such as masculinity and feminism, identity, and race relations and representations. . . . [It] accomplishes the admirable feat of offering considerable critique and examination from a standpoint of admiration and fandom.”
(Publishers Weekly)

“A lot is packed into this volume, and nobody is likely to reach the end feeling shortchanged. . . . This is no giddy fanzine, to be sure, but for folks who take their Mad Men seriously it opens worthwhile paths of inquiry.”
(James M. Keller Santa Fe New Mexican)

From the Back Cover

Since the show's debut in 2007, Mad Men has invited viewers to immerse themselves in the lush period settings, ruthless Madison Avenue advertising culture, and arresting characters at the center of its 1960s fictional world. Mad Men, Mad World is a comprehensive analysis of this groundbreaking TV series. Scholars from across the humanities consider the AMC drama from a fascinating array of perspectives, including fashion, history, architecture, civil rights, feminism, consumerism, art, cinema, and the serial format, as well as through theoretical frames such as critical race theory, gender, queer theory, global studies, and psychoanalysis.
 
In the introduction, the editors explore the show's popularity; its controversial representations of race, class and gender; its powerful influence on aesthetics and style; and its unique use of period historicism and advertising as a way of speaking to our neoliberal moment. Mad Men, Mad World includes an interview with Phil Abraham, an award-winning Mad Men director and cinematographer. Taken together, the essays demonstrate that understanding Mad Men means engaging the show not only as a reflection of the 1960s but also as a commentary on the present day.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (March 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822354187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822354185
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #499,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Charles C. Euchner on April 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
"Mad Men, Mad World" and my new work Mad Men Persuasion: How Don Draper & Co. Shape Your Desires (Write Well to Succeed) work both sides of the street. "Mad Men, Mad World" offers the big overview of life in the 1960s depicted on Matthew Weiner's AMC show. My work focuses on the strategies of persuasion that Don Draper & Co. used in their ad campaigns.

This collection offers 22 smart and nuanced pieces that show how something fictional often sheds light on deeper truths about moments in history.

"Mad Men, Mad World" understands the TV soap as well as anyone. Don Draper, naturally, gets a lot of attention. Who is Don? Not Thomas Rath, the hero of "The Man in the Gray-Flannel Suit." Rath had his share of secrets, but he also had a deep moral core which saved him in the end. Don, though, cannot have that core because he has given up his past. It's a terrific contrast.

This volume offers intelligent discussion of the narrow white perspective during the civil rights revolution, the changing role of women in a chauvinist society, the role of place in life and storytelling, the aesthetics of a costume drama, and a couple of the ad campaigns explored in "Mad Men."

"Mad Men, Mad World" offers a balanced and grounded approach to its subject. "MMMW" recognizes that "mad Men": is "selectively anachronistic" -- that is, it gets a lot of period details right but doesn't insist on playing the historian. At some point, drama matters more than a historian's exactitude. "MMMW" also defends "Mad Men" against the criticism that it's a smug, holier-than-thou take on the prejudices of the past.

This is a satisfying collection. maybe it's a tad academic for some readers' tastes. But if you love "Mad Men" and want to understand the intersection of popular culture and history, this is a terrific read.
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Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s
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