The Man Everybody Knew: Bruce Barton and the Making of Modern America

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The Man Everybody Knew: Bruce Barton and the Making of Modern America [Hardcover]

Richard M. Fried
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews


A fine biography. (John M. and Priscilla S. Taylor The Washington Times)

Fried shows the extent of Barton’s true influence . . . as a pioneer in modern political advertising. (James Boylan Columbia Journalism Review)

Well-researched and well-written. (Walter A. Friedman Journal of American History)

Brief, fair-minded, and well-researched. (Robert K. Landers Commonweal)

Fried paints a broader portrait of Barton . . . a straightforward biography. (Business History Review)

This admirable, readable volume enriches our knowledge of Barton's career and his political involvements. . . . A well-researched and detailed, if relatively brief, account of a neglected pioneer of contemporary image-making. (David Greenberg Washington Monthly)

Well-researched . . . insightful biography . . . rightly considers Barton's life . . . a parable about . . . relationship between corporate business ideology and popular mainline protestant thought. (Quentin J. Schultze)

Richard Fried has written an engaging, deeply researched, and admirably balanced brief biography of Bruce Barton—adman, best selling author, and politician who was indeed very well-known during his heyday between the 1920s and 1950s. An accomplished historian, Fried is especially good at capturing the context of Barton’s times. (James T. Patterson, Brown University)

One of America’s most prominent ad agents, Bruce Barton assiduously crafted kindly images for soulless corporations and dour presidential candidates. He was also a prolific essayist, lay theologian and, briefly, a member of Congress. In a wonderfully written and researched book, Richard M. Fried skillfully describes Barton’s many legacies. The Man Everybody Knew will be necessary reading for historians of America’s political and commercial cultures. (James L. Baughman University Of Wisconsin-Madison)

Entertaining and succinct introduction. . . . Mr. Fried sees his biography as a corrective, and indeed it is. (Christine Rosen The Wall Street Journal)

Despite his many achievements few know [Barton's] name today: history professor Fried remedies this omission. (Diane C. Donovan Midwest Book Review)

It's been worth the wait. (James B. Twitchell Wilson Quarterly)

A suitably brisk, anecdote-filled account. (Michael Kazin The New York Times)

Fried aptly characterizes Barton. (Joseph Epstein The Weekly Standard)

About the Author

Richard M. Fried is professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of Men Against McCarthy, Nightmare in Red, and The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! He studied at Amherst College and Columbia University, and has been a senior Fulbright lecturer. He is married with two children and lives in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
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