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All-American Ads of the 40s Paperback – December 1, 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
Book 4 of 8 in the All-American Ads Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Like a pop-cultural walk through time, All-American Ads of the 40s covers the breadth of print ads from the World War II era. As one might expect, the ads look very different from ads today. Most are illustrated, and even the selling of innocuous products like candy bars taps into public interest number one, the war. The book is divided into chapters by product including alcohol, fashion, entertainment, travel, and automobiles. Saving the best for last, the conclusion of each chapter reveals the editor's pick for most peculiar ad. Most enticing are the movie posters. Classic pictures like Citizen Kane and It's a Wonderful Life appear in their original print incarnations as fantastic visions of old Hollywood. Hawking beauty products are famous stars such as Lucille Ball, Lana Turner, Marlene Dietrich, and Veronica Lake. Not surprisingly, gender roles are sharply divided, and race issues stick out sorely. Included is an essay by Willy R. Wilkerson III, "From Rationing to Prosperity, American Life in the 1940s," tracing the history of wartime consumerism. --J.P. Cohen

About the Author

Jim Heimann, a native of Los Angeles is a graphic designer, illustrator, educator and author. Mr. Heimann has written California Crazy: Roadside Vernacular Architecture, Hooray For Hollywood, Out With The Stars, Close Cover Before Striking, Car Hops and Curb Service: A History of the American Drive-In Restaurant, May I Serve You?; American Menu Design, 1920-1960, Sins of the City: The Real Los Angeles Noir, California Crazy and Beyond, and writes on popular culture, regional history and architecture for publications including the Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone. Mr. Heimann has been a faculty member of Art Center School of Design, Pasadena since 1987, and is a frequent speaker at the University of Southern California, UCLA, the California Chapter of the AIA, the Kansas City Art Director’s Club, the AIGA, the Armand Hammer Museum, the Los Angeles Conservancy, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and numerous other organizations throughout the United State! s. He is currently working on additional volumes of All-American Ads for TASCHEN.

W.R. Wilkerson, III, author of the intro to All-American Ads of the 40s, is the son of Billy Wilkerson who was the founder of the Hollywood Reporter and owner in the 30s and 40s of famous Hollywood hotspots like Ciro’s and the Trocadero. A true child of Hollywood, Mr. Wilkerson currently lives and writes in Las Vegas.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 764 pages
  • Publisher: Taschen; First Edition edition (December 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3822814687
  • ISBN-13: 978-3822814680
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 2.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #839,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Another massive collection of colorful magazine advertisements from Taschen. This is the same format as the first book in this series,'All-American Ads 50s', hundresd and hundreds of whole page consumer magazine ads (there are a few pages with two or four) beautifull printed.
As this edition covers the war years, 111 pages carry ads by American companies explaining how they are doing their bit for victory. On page 618 there is a 1941 Greyhound bus ad that features a map of the US showing all the main military camps and the copy tells how Greyhound runs a bus past most of them. In the chapter on 'Industry' I found sixteen 1945 ads from a metal producing company called Bohn, they show futuristic designs for various forms of transport and a wonderful streamline combine harvester.
Most of the ads in the book use illustration rather than photography, so much easier to stretch reality.
This is an ideal gift book for anyone who lived through the forties and if you are just curious about middle-class life back then these thousand ads will give you plenty to think about. A book bargain at the price.
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Not too long ago, I was lucky enough to find the phone-book sized "All-American Ads of the '70's" on a sale table: large format, about 750 pages, and 8 pounds, of delightful and fascinating period ads, all well-reproduced on high-quality paper. Other than having the mass of a small bowling ball, it is a terrific book. So when I saw the book advertised on this page for the 40's, I clicked away. But--beware--the Icon's series is NOTHING like the standard version of All American ads. First--the size is rather puny (5x7), and there are less than 200 pages of ads--and it costs nearly as much as the big one. I am very disappointed to have spent over $20 on this book--but I would NOT be disappointed to spend $30 or $35 on the big version, that is how dramatic the difference is. The reviews on this product page talk about the 700 pages--well, that is the regular version they are talking about (the one with the train on the cover), not this one (with the folks in bathing suits). So if you want the petite version, go ahead, but if you really want the Cadillac, and really want to indulge in a visual treasure, make sure to buy the other version, NOT the Icons. This same distinction is true for other decades covered in the series, too.

Also--this business of it being the "Spanish Edition" is a complete falsehood. As with the larger format version, what little text there is gets repeated in FIVE languages, one of which is Spanish, the others being English, French, German, and Japanese. But the beauty of the full-size book (and to some extent its little brother), is the focus on the ads, and letting them speak for themselves as they were meant to do.
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This is one of a series of amazing books published by Taschen.

I have been purchasing them through Amazon (as some are difficult to locate through stores). The series so far covers the 1910s through to the 1980s, a volume per decade. Over 500 pages of quality reproductions of ads from consumer goods to movies of those decades. You could spend hours looking through these books - and still find something you missed last time around. Congratulations to the editor/s.
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I bought this book for my mom for Christmas several years ago and she STILL has it on her coffee table. She was born in 1944 and loves to look through all of the old ads. She says it impresses her friends when they come over too. I highly suggest this as a gift for anyone born in the 1940s or even someone in the advertising industry.
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