The Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939-1979
Daniel HorowitzISBN: 1558494324;
This book charts the reactions of prominent American writers to the unprecedented prosperity of the decades following World War II. It begins with an examination of Lewis Mumford?s wartime call for "democratic" consumption and concludes with an analysis of the origins of President Jimmy Carter?s "malaise" speech of 1979. Between these bookends, Daniel Horowitz documents a broad range of competing views, each in its own way reflective of a deep-seated ambivalence toward consumer culture?a persistent but shifting tension between a commitment to self-restraint and the pursuit of personal satisfaction through the acquisition of commercial goods and experiences. To explain why affluence has caused so much anxiety in America, Horowitz focuses on key works of cultural criticism that stimulated public debate during what many have called the golden age of modern American capitalism. Some of these books, such as John Kenneth Galbraith?s "The Affluent Society," Rachel...