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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

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Reveals a hidden history of racial segregation on the United States' first television program centered on the teenage population. . . . Provocative."--"Orange County Register"

"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

“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 women—outraged by the discrimination and racism they faced for the simple act of enjoying music—refused 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 completely—the social and cultural history of the 1950s and ‘60s, the Civil Rights movement, the birth of television—but 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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (February 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520272072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520272071
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,165,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I absolutely recommend this book to all Americans! Especially since the recent passing of Dick Clark.

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.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book. It belongs with Race Beat and Warmth of Other Suns in telling the story of integration and racism in the U. S. This book talks about racism in Philadelphia- de facto segregation viewed as "different" from de jure segregation of the South. The story is woven around teens, the music industry, American Band Stand, civil rights activists, schools, a story more often told about the South than the third largest city at the time in America.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I lived thru this experience
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By Bo on July 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A little wordy I thought it was going to be about Band Stand but it was about a lot more and I had to put it down because it was just too much
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