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Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture Paperback – April 15, 1959


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Paperback, April 15, 1959
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Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture + Middletown in Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts (Harvest/HBJ Book)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 550 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Brace Javanovich (April 15, 1959)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156595508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156595506
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sociologist and educator Helen Merrell Lynd (1896-1982) was a coauthor of the classic sociological study "Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture". With her husband, Robert S. Lynd, she studied the beliefs and practices of the residents of a small industrial town to provide a unique portrait of American life in the 1920s. They returned to the town during the Great Depression of the 1930s to observe changes in the community, a study which was published as "Middletown in Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts".

Helen Merrell Lynd, with her husband, Robert S. Lynd, coauthored the classic sociological work Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture. A study of the lives of the citizens of an average American town in the 1920s, the book became a best-seller and a standard text for sociology students. The Lynds followed up on Middletown residents in the 1930s, producing the volume Middletown in Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts. In addition to these collaborative works with her husband, Lynd also had a successful independent career in academia. A longtime member of the staff of Sarah Lawrence College, she wrote a number of books on education, history, philosophy, and sociology.

Lynd was born Helen Merrell on March 17, 1896, in La Grange, Illinois.



Sociologist and educator Helen Merrell Lynd (1896-1982) was a coauthor of the classic sociological study "Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture". With her husband, Robert S. Lynd, she studied the beliefs and practices of the residents of a small industrial town to provide a unique portrait of American life in the 1920s. They returned to the town during the Great Depression of the 1930s to observe changes in the community, a study which was published as "Middletown in Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts".

Helen Merrell Lynd, with her husband, Robert S. Lynd, coauthored the classic sociological work Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture. A study of the lives of the citizens of an average American town in the 1920s, the book became a best-seller and a standard text for sociology students. The Lynds followed up on Middletown residents in the 1930s, producing the volume Middletown in Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts. In addition to these collaborative works with her husband, Lynd also had a successful independent career in academia. A longtime member of the staff of Sarah Lawrence College, she wrote a number of books on education, history, philosophy, and sociology.

Lynd was born Helen Merrell on March 17, 1896, in La Grange, Illinois.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Megan on December 23, 2001
When this book was written, it was absolutely revolutionary: it was the first time someone had used anthropological tecniques on a modern American town! The authors studied newspapers, visible trends, and interviews with many of the inhabitants of Muncie, Indiana (which they picked and renamed "Middletown" because it was supposed to be an average American town). What they created was a vibrant picture of modern America.
Now, seventy years later, the book is an incredibly important historical work about the 1920's. Yet it's also a great read: my favorite part was the chapter where all the teenagers complain about how their parents never let them do anything, and the parents complain about how their teenagers have too much freedom and are probably getting into bad things.
I definately reccomend this book to anyone who is interested about the 1920's. Even if you don't like the book, you'll understand why Muncie, Indiana is used in so many pop culture references to average mid-western towns!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Martin VINE VOICE on January 26, 2003
Middletown is a very interesting and important work of anthropology, sociology and history. Not just because it's the first time anthropological techniques were applied to a study of a single American city, but also Lynd's findings provide an interesting look at how by the time of his writings in the 1920s, things between then and now haven't changed in certain respects. Lynd reports disputes between parents and children over the use of the family autombile, the children out too late at parties and those parties not breaking up until the wee hours of the morning. All of this is certainly still prevalent today in many American families. Lynd also discusses how many people in "Middletown" did not vote in the 1922 elections and were cynical about politicians in general. This feeling again, is quite prevalent in American politics today.
Lynd's book serves to support the cliche, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
For anybody who thinks that the problems of American society are new and caused by a decline in morality due to technology and other recent influences, get this book. Lynd will show you that this "decline" is not new nor caused by recent outside influences such as TV, the Internet. movies or music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RM Book Lover on October 18, 2009
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Middletown is a fascinating look at life in middle America in the 1920s. So much has changed, so much is the same.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Avid Book Enthusiast on February 19, 2013
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Definitely would take advantage of the "Look Inside!" on this one.
I'm convinced it could be written better than it is.
I'm sorry I can't recommend any substitutes.
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