“Reveals a hidden history of racial segregation on the United States' first television program centered on the teenage population. . . . Provocative.”
(Orange County Register
“Well-researched, tightly-written. . . . Impressively bright, clear, and comprehensive.”
(History News Network
“Excellent. . . . Offers a valuable understanding of the . . . melding of African Americans into the national youth culture.”
“The study illustrates how . . . nostalgic representations of the past . . . can work as impediments to progress in the present.”
(Cbq Communication Booknotes Qtly
“The Nicest Kids in Town counters the (false) mythology of American Bandstand with valuable descriptions of ‘forgotten’ cultural productions.”
(Gayle Wald, George Washington University Jrnl Of The Society For American Music (Jsam)
From the Inside Flap
By challenging Dick Clark’s claim that he helped integrate American popular music and culture, Matthew Delmont puts the lie to Clark’s air-brushed history of American Bandstand’s role in racial desegregation. The Nicest Kids in Town shows how the nexus of sound, place, race, and space operated together to create and reinforce a myth of national memory and belonging. Just as importantly, this compelling cultural history demonstrates the importance of the youth market as a theater of struggle where brave young men and womenoutraged by the discrimination and racism they faced for the simple act of enjoying musicrefused to have their bodies, tastes, or desires policed. Delmont shows how the music moved them, and how in turn they moved the music onto television screens across America.”Herman Gray, author of Cultural Moves.
The Nicest Kids in Town speaks simultaneously to several significant current lines of inquiry among historians of the United States after World War II. Delmont takes on issues that we thought we already knew completelythe social and cultural history of the 1950s and 60s, the Civil Rights movement, the birth of televisionbut he brings original material to his story and connects these issues in new ways. Delmont’s work proves him to be a talented, careful, and thorough scholar, and in a large body of work on these topics, his book stands alone.”Jay Mechling, author of On My Honor: Boy Scouts and the Making of American Youth.