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The Nicest Kids in Town: American Bandstand, Rock 'n' Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s Philadelphia Hardcover – February 22, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
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"Excellent. . . . Offers a valuable understanding of the . . . melding of African Americans into the national youth culture."--"Choice"
"Well-researched, tightly-written. . . . Impressively bright, clear, and comprehensive."--"History News Network"
"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)" (11/01/2012)
"Lively and perceptive. . . . Delmont's book offers a subtle, refreshingly interdisciplinary reading of "Bandstand" as a site of the civil rights struggles in Philadelphia."--Brian Ward"American Historical Review" (06/01/2013)
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)" (11/01/2012)"
"Lively and perceptive. . . .Delmont s book offers a subtle, refreshingly interdisciplinary reading of "Bandstand"as a site of the civil rights struggles in Philadelphia."--Brian Ward"American Historical Review" (06/01/2013)"
From the Inside Flap
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.
Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Delmont reminds us of two important things about the U.S. in the 1950s & 1960s that still resonate in 2012. 1) American Bandstand was an American commercial enterprise that was not in the forefront of segregation, and 2) American Bandstand's mission was to reach a new growing teenaged consumer population. The show was designed for that from the beginning, meaning that its purpose was not only to reach as many teens as it could, and therefore sell as much product as possible, but also to keep from offending as many of those teens, and their parents, as possible.
You cannot have it both ways. You cannot increase your ratings on commercial television by taking a stand on a very controversial subject, such as race relations and integration were in the 1950s & 1960s. It couldn't be done then, and it can't be done now!
This is also an excellent history of segregation in housing, education, employment, and overall opportunity in Philadelphia that represents a microcosm of the United States.