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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a clear summary of the history of our media culture
Baughman's book is a joy to read because of his skillful writing. This is an ideal eaxample of how to write a book of this sort. Every point he makes is worth making and is increadibly clear. He never repeats his points and covers a great deal of territory. I definitely recommend this book to any student of American history, media studies or consumer culture.
Published on March 21, 1999 by mjmay@bayou.uh.edu

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3.0 out of 5 stars A solid overview
Feels like a good college textbook, summarizing the TV industry and its effects on mags, newspapers, movies 1940s-1990s. Baughman doesn't have a particularly good feel for the aesthetics of TV and his writing is workmanlike at best. But a nice intro for young people who didn't grow up in those benighted times before HDTV and the Internet.
Published 19 months ago by Kent Miller


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a clear summary of the history of our media culture, March 21, 1999
Baughman's book is a joy to read because of his skillful writing. This is an ideal eaxample of how to write a book of this sort. Every point he makes is worth making and is increadibly clear. He never repeats his points and covers a great deal of territory. I definitely recommend this book to any student of American history, media studies or consumer culture.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written yet sober account, June 28, 2005
This volume should be of interest to anyone interested in the transformation of television from a fringe consumer product to a central force in the creation of an American mass culture. As someone who holds a special place in his heart for the printed word, I found the section on the decline of print media--especially of general-interest magazines such as LIFE and the SATURDAY EVENING POST--of particular interest. Today the decline has entered a new chapter, as newspaper organizations are shuttering their doors as advertising revenues plummet and consumers migrate onto the Internet to feed their need for news content.

And as someone who has produced TV-news segments for national broadcasters, I find resonance in his description of the evolving tastes of popular audiences from high- to lowbrow content. At the dawn of the TV age, most viewers tuned in to watch Edward R. Murrow on CBS's SEE IT NOW and Sid Caesar's SHOW OF SHOWS, as networks catered to an informed audience. Soon, however, viewers drifted away from quality programming and ultimately made entertainment programs like CHARLIE'S ANGELS a national phenomenon. To this day popular content on television is dominated by programming designed for lowest-common-denominator audiences in the form of so-called reality television.

If there is any criticism of this volume that prospective readers should be made aware of, it is that Baughman's writing style is a slough to muddle through. Enervating and taxing, at its low moments it can serve as an antidote to insomnia. But do not be discouraged, because as you navigate deeper into the book it becomes more and more illuminating and rewarding.

THE REPUBLIC OF MASS CULTURE offers a revealing account of shifts in American cultural tastes in the second half of the twentieth century. While the book does not center on politics and history, Baughman delivers a cultural history that nonetheless has political resonance and application in the current age. It is refreshing to read as an alternative to comprehensive histories of America.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A solid overview, May 20, 2013
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Feels like a good college textbook, summarizing the TV industry and its effects on mags, newspapers, movies 1940s-1990s. Baughman doesn't have a particularly good feel for the aesthetics of TV and his writing is workmanlike at best. But a nice intro for young people who didn't grow up in those benighted times before HDTV and the Internet.
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The Republic of Mass Culture: Journalism, Filmmaking, and Broadcasting in America since 1941 (The American Moment)
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