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Signs of Life in the USA 6th (sixth) edition Text Only Paperback – 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's (2008)
  • ASIN: B004NMJ1HE
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,278,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Martha Rapp Sayles on January 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
Socrates would be pleased with Signs of Life in the USA, as it questions the implications of the ideologies put forth by the hydra-headed media of the 21st century. Employing semiotic analysis by association and differentiation, the editors offer students an explicable means by which to begin critically examining the popular culture that comes at them from every conceivable direction.

As a professor of writing and popular culture, I have used various editions of Signs of Life over the last ten years with students ranging from timid freshmen to cocky upper-classmen. The reason? I can get them to open the book.

Students love popular culture. They also like to show their friends how much they know about popular culture. Thus, if they are going to be forced to read something, they will more readily read an article that can give them insights on television, movies, music, and video games that they can use immediately in conversation (texted or otherwise). Secondly, the editors approach the students as knowledgeable insiders, validating their experience while teaching them new ways to think about it. The excellent introductions (for the book as a whole and for each chapter) present scholarly, and often historical, approaches to the subject in very clear and accessible prose, yet do so with a tone of mutual curiosity; there is a playfulness that coaxes students out of passivity. One of the greatest challenges in the classroom - particularly in a writing course - is to get students interested. Signs of Life makes this easy.

A most appreciated attribute of the book for me is its great flexibility.
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By Tom on June 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a person who could not give a damn about the United States, I was amazed and dis-satisfied at how much people were so vocal about such matters that I believe were to be trivial. It was obvious that I was so uninformed of the inter-workings of the United States and the media that results inside of it. I am glad my professor chose this book, for I have gain an insight into something I would not have found alone. I am sure that some young adults, like me, were overwhelmed by the content inside and highly discouraged. Just take a look at the table of contents and the amount of pages(on Product Details).

The table of content, by chapters are the following:
Introduction - Popular Signs: Or, Everything you Always Knew about American Culture (but Nobody Asked)
Chapter I - Consuming Passions: The Culture of American Consumption
Chapter II - Brought to you B(u)y: The Signs of Advertising
Chapter III - Video Dreams: Television, Music, and Cultural Forms
Chapter IV - The Hollywood Sign: The Culture of American Film
Chapter V - You-Topian Dreams: MySpace, YourSpace, and the Semiotics of Web 2.0
Chapter VI - American Paradox: Culture and Contradiction in the U.S.A
Chapter VII - We've Come a Long Way, Maybe: Gender Codes in American Culture
Chapter VIII - Constructing Race: Readings in Multicultural Semiotics

An astonishing 752 pages and 8 chapters is no laughing matter, at least to those who are not well-acquainted with reading books, yet I found myself the ability to read most articles inside the book well enough to understand the key points as if I was reading one of my favorite novels. I believe this is a result of using articles on popular culture as basis for this book.
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An amazing book that delivers incredible insight into the inner social and cultural intersections in the USA revealed through in-depth examinations by incredible writers. This is one of the few textbooks I had to keep and couldn't sell because of the unique type of information contained within it.
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By Matthew Dyer on January 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Used this book often in my English class. It actually has some pretty good readings within if you care to read. Overall the buying and shipment part was great came earlier than expected which made me very happy.
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i needed this for my class, i liked that it was just as it said, the right book for my class. i would reccomend this book to everyone interested for the class. It has some great stories!!
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The book arrived on time, and it was NOT damaged.
The material was not well presented or laid out.

NO: I would not recommend this book.
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By Lis Arevalo on September 11, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It arrived in a week and was exactly as described. Only had light wear on cover but not inside
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By ghost on December 29, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good book. Used for class so wasn't inclined to purchase it otherwise.
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