Friday, October 17 2014
Ian Bell explores Dylan's unparalleled second act in a quintessentially American career. It's a tale of redemption, of an act of creative will against the odds, and of a writer who refused to fade away.
Friday, October 10 2014
An unprecedented access telling of this landmark musical showcase whose history spans dramatic changes in the nature of television, the expansion of digital media, and the ways in which we experience music.
Friday, August 22 2014
Southbound profiles the musicians, producers, record labels, and movers and shakers that defined Southern rock, including the Allmans, Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band and here, the Charlie Daniels Band.
Friday, August 15 2014
The story of country music told through hit records by Hank Williams, George Jones, Patsy Cline, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, and many others.
Friday, August 8 2014
It's one of the biggest selling albums of all time and, according to former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum, "the greatest resurrection of a band in history". But how much of Back in Black was the work of the late Bon Scott?
Friday, August 1 2014
Powerage is regarded by aficionados, including Keith Richards and Gene Simmons, as the band's finest album. But its commercial failure had major repercussions behind the scenes.
Friday, July 18 2014
Soul Train boldly went where no show had gone before, showcasing young African Americans and the fashions and music that defined their lives: R&B, funk, jazz, disco, and gospel.
Friday, July 11 2014
Artisanal chocolate. Mustaches. Locally sourced vegetables. Etsy. Birds. Flea markets. Cult films. Horn-rimmed glasses. Twee.
Friday, May 23 2014
When the police began using their discretion with African American gang leaders, gay and lesbian bar owners, Haight-Ashbury hippies and other postwar San Franciscans, a rise in liberal cosmopolitism would follow throughout America.
Friday, May 16 2014
Mad World celebrates the New Wave music phenomenon of the ‘80s via new interviews with 35 of the most notable artists of the period including Duran Duran, New Order, the Smiths and here, OMD.
Friday, May 9 2014
There's the world as most understand it and the world as it's actually evolving, towards an extreme form of capitalism occuring across international borders—to devastating effects.
Friday, May 2 2014
This is a portrait of an artist attuned to notions of justice, lust, longing, loneliness, and redemption, and possessing the sort of voice and vision commonly reserved for the prophets.
Friday, April 11 2014
In the late 1800s, America’s most popular spectator sport wasn’t baseball, boxing, or horseracing—it was competitive walking. Indeed, when a New York arena overbooked, fans rioted.
Friday, April 4 2014
From Benjamin Franklin's hoax about the the death of his rival to Abbie Hoffman’s attempt to levitate the Pentagon to Stephen Colbert’s “news reporting”, pranksters, hoaxers, and con artists use humor to underscore larger, pointed truths about society.
Friday, March 21 2014
In the last 20 years, America’s incarceration rates have risen 500 percent. Sentences are harsh, prisons are overcrowded, life inside is dangerous, and rehabilitation programs don't work. Do we want our prisons to be this way?
Friday, March 14 2014
Sex Scene suggests that what we have come to understand as the sexual revolution of the late '60s and early '70s was actually a media revolution.
Friday, March 7 2014
Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee "Tennie" Claflin -- the most fascinating and scandalous sisters in American history -- were unequaled for their vastly avant-garde crusade for women's fiscal, political, and sexual independence.
Friday, February 21 2014
Martin Luther King, Jr., narrowly escaped a mob attack; protesters were teargassed by state police; Lyndon Johnson refused to intervene; and Stokely Carmichael led the chant that would deﬁne a new kind of civil rights movement: Black Power.
Friday, February 14 2014
Before skyscrapers forever transformed urban landscapes, the conveyance that made them possible had to be created.
Friday, January 24 2014
While university curriculums are being driven by scientism and market forces, Rodowick argues for the importance of the arts and humanities as transformative, self-renewing cultural legacies.
Friday, December 13 2013
From Star Trek to The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Harry Potter, Twilight, and beyond, Fic sheds light on the widely misunderstood world(s) of fanfiction and how it is reshaping our literary landscape.
Friday, December 6 2013
Eminent criminologists make a compelling case for why America's 40 year embrace of the punitive spirit has been morally bankrupt and endangered public safety.
Friday, November 8 2013
Controversial and somewhat enigmatic, Richard Pryor’s performances opened up a new world of possibilities, merging fantasy with angry reality in a way that wasn’t just new—it was heretofore unthinkable.
Tuesday, October 29 2013
Ray Davies tries to make sense of his long love-hate relationship with America, the country that both inspired and frustrated him.
Friday, October 25 2013
Novelty remains a central problem of contemporary science and literature—an ever-receding target that, in its complexity and evasiveness, continues to inspire and propel the modern.
Friday, October 18 2013
Merle Haggard’s music helped invent the America we live in today. David Cantwell explores the fascinating contradictions that define not only Haggard’s music and public persona, but the very heart of American culture.
Friday, September 20 2013
Country music singer Patsy Cline embodied the power and appeal of women in country music, and helped open the lucrative industry to future female solo artists.
Friday, September 13 2013
In our postmodern, porn-obsessed culture, vaginas appear to be everywhere, literally or symbolically -- yet they are as silenced as they are objectified. The Vagina examines the paradox of female genitalia through literature, film, TV, visual, and performance art.
Friday, September 6 2013
This is a book about the periphery, the elusive point at which law and piracy traded places, legitimacy became lawless, and courtesy grew discourteous.
Thursday, August 29 2013
Award-winning investigative journalist Martin A. Lee takes us on an entertaining and informative ride through the complex landscape of the Great American Pot story.
Thursday, August 22 2013
More extreme than punk, industrial music revolted against the very ideas of order and reason: it sought to strip away the brainwashing that was identity itself. It aspired to provoke, bewilder, and roar with independence.
Thursday, August 15 2013
Drawing from extensive interviews, well-known banjoist Murphy Hicks Henry gives voice to women performers and innovators throughout bluegrass's history.
Thursday, August 8 2013
Charles Mingus is among jazz’s greatest composers and perhaps its most talented bass player. During his lifetime he had a lot to say about the place of jazz in music history and American culture and much more. Mingus speaks, we listen.
Thursday, August 1 2013
These essays cover a breadth of interdisciplinary perspectives and subjects -- from PEZ candy dispensers and trading cards to sports memorabilia and music –- and examine collecting practices on both a personal and professional level.
Thursday, July 25 2013
Across every geographical and socioeconomic spectrum, the authors reveal the dramatic developments—good and bad—that will transform both our everyday lives and our understanding of self and society, as technology advances and our virtual identities become more and more fundamentally real.
Thursday, July 18 2013
Can a song change a nation? Mark Kurlansky’s work chronicles that extraordinary summer of 1964 and showcases the momentous role that a simple song about dancing played in history.
Thursday, July 11 2013
Over the past decade, the most iconic of American landscapes has undergone a political and demographic upheaval comparable only to the opening of the frontier.
Monday, July 8 2013
An oral history of Detroit and its music told by the people who were on the stage, in the clubs, the practice rooms, studios, and in the audience, blasting the music out and soaking it up, in every scene from 1967 to today.
Monday, July 1 2013
While Dinah Shore, Duke Ellington, and the Andrew Sisters entertained civilians and G.I.s with swing and boogie-woogie, Fauser shows it was classical music that truly distinguished musical life in the wartime United States.
Thursday, June 27 2013
Ellin Stein’s book goes behind the jokes to witness the fights, the parties, the collaborations—and the competition—among this fraternity of the self-consciously disenchanted.
Thursday, June 20 2013
Revealing how music mediates both the ideology and the lived experience of race, Hidden in the Mix challenges the status of country music as "the white man’s blues."
Thursday, June 13 2013
In time for the 75th anniversary of the Man of Steel comes the first comprehensive literary biography of Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, creators of the DC Comics superhero Superman.
Thursday, June 6 2013
Is Noise, an underground music made through an amalgam of feedback, distortion, and electronic effects, Japanoise? Is it even music at all?
Thursday, May 30 2013
The supreme irony of Robert L. Ripley’s life, which was dedicated to exalting the strange and unusual, is that he may have been the most amazing oddity of all.
Thursday, May 23 2013
As the apotheosis of feminine charm and American careerism, the stewardess subtly bucked traditional gender roles and paved the way for the women's movement.
Thursday, May 16 2013
In a career that took him from the cotton fields of East Texas to the concert stage at Carnegie Hall and beyond, Lightnin’ Hopkins became one of America’s greatest bluesmen.
Thursday, May 9 2013
This insightful and entertaining look at the history of music piracy offers invaluable background to the hot-button issue of creativity and the law.
Thursday, May 2 2013
Between 1933 and 1939, representations of the Nazis and the full meaning of Nazism came slowly to Hollywood, growing more distinct and ominous only as the decade wore on.
Thursday, April 25 2013
Hello Kitty is one aspect of "pink globalization"—the spread of goods and images labeled cute (kawaii) from Japan to other parts of the industrial world.
Thursday, April 18 2013
Bernhard Rieger examines culture and technology, politics and economics, and industrial design and advertising genius to reveal how a car commissioned by Hitler and designed by Ferdinand Porsche became an exceptional global commodity on a par with Coca-Cola.
Thursday, April 11 2013
"If humans are by nature lovers of fantasy, then little may be lost if they consider all their gods to be fantasies."
Thursday, April 4 2013
Gavin Wright's work makes clear that the material benefits of the civil rights acts of the '60s are as significant as the moral ones—an especially timely achievement as these monumental pieces of legislation, and the efficacy of governmental intervention more broadly, face new challenges.
Monday, April 1 2013
Going beyond the myths to depict a band that defined Britpop, Simon Spence illustrates the Stone Roses’ incandescent talent and jaw-dropping success while contextualizing them in the ‘90s music scene.
Thursday, March 28 2013
Scholars across the humanities consider Mad Men from a fascinating array of perspectives, including fashion, history, civil rights, feminism, consumerism, and art, as well as through theoretical frames such as critical race theory, gender, queer theory, and psychoanalysis.
Thursday, March 21 2013
As a critic, curator, journalist, and scholar, B. Ruby Rich has been inextricably linked to the New Queer Cinema from its inception. Her book follows this cinematic movement from its origins in the mid-‘80s to the present.
Thursday, March 14 2013
Which paint color is most likely to tell you that a used car is in good shape? How can officials identify the most dangerous New York City manholes before they explode? How did Google searches predict the spread of the H1N1 flu outbreak?
Thursday, March 7 2013
This bold reaccounting dramatically alters our understanding of American slavery and its role in U.S. expansionism, global capitalism, and the upcoming Civil War.
Thursday, February 28 2013
White introduces us to shopkeepers and prostitutes, men and women of fashion and genius, street-robbers and thief-takers, as they play out the astonishing drama of life in 18th century London.
Thursday, February 14 2013
Gennett Records produced thousands of records and debuted such stars as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Bix Biederbecke, Jelly Roll Morton, Hoagy Carmichael, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, and Gene Autry.
Thursday, December 13 2012
An incredible and opinionated collection of celebrated cultural critic Dylan Jones’s thoughts on more than 350 of the most important artists around the world—alive and dead, big and small, at length and in brief.
Thursday, December 6 2012
Hearing voices? Don’t worry, the revered Dr. Oliver Sacks assures, in that regard at least, you’re perfectly sane.
Thursday, November 29 2012
Music Historian Matthew Guerrieri traces the origins and influence of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, weaving a fascinating piece of musical detective work.
Thursday, November 15 2012
An electrifying story of how musicians of genius have made Bach’s music new in our time, at once restoring Bach as a universally revered composer and revolutionizing the ways that music figures into our lives.
Thursday, November 8 2012
Using the life and career of her father, an early Hollywood actor, New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot tells the thrilling story of the rise of popular culture through a transfixing personal lens.
Thursday, November 1 2012
Instant tells the tale of a one-of-a-kind invention-from Polaroid's first instant camera in 1948, to its meteoric rise in popularity and adoption by artists such as Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, and Chuck Close, to the company's bankruptcy in the late '90s and its unlikely resurrection in the digital age.
Thursday, October 25 2012
Halloween has spread around the globe to places as diverse as Russia, China, and Japan, but its association with death and the supernatural and its inevitable commercialization has made it one of our most misunderstood holidays.
Thursday, October 18 2012
At first, film was a waking dream, delivered for a nickel to huddled masses sitting in the dark. But soon movies began transforming our societies and our perceptions of the world.
Thursday, October 11 2012
Since prehistory, humans have braved sharp knives, fire, and grindstones to transform raw ingredients into something delicious—or at least edible. Tools shape what we eat, but they have also transformed how we consume, and how we think about, our food.
Thursday, September 27 2012
How rural Americans of all political stripes were drafted to fight the Cold War by living with nuclear missiles in their backyards—and what that tells us about enduring political divides and the persistence of defense spending.
Thursday, September 20 2012
Armed with research from behavioral psychology and randomized experiments that treat voters as unwitting guinea pigs, the smartest campaigns now believe they know who you will vote for even before you do.
Thursday, September 13 2012
An exploration and celebration of a controversial tradition that, contrary to popular opinion, is alive and active after more than 150 years.
Thursday, September 6 2012
Owen Hatherley writes with unrivalled aggression about the disarray of modern Britain, and yet this remains a book about possibilities remembered, about unlikely successes in the midst of seemingly inexorable failure.
Thursday, August 30 2012
Dissecting close to 250 songs, Peter Doggett traces the major themes that inspired and shaped Bowie's career, from his flirtations with fascist imagery and infatuation with the occult to the creation of his alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust.
Thursday, August 23 2012
Tight, passionate, and provocative, The Last Bohemia is at once a celebration of the fever dream of bohemia, a lament for what Williamsburg has become, and a cautionary tale about the lurching transformations of city neighborhoods.
Thursday, August 16 2012
America today towers as the most philosophical culture in the history of the world, an unprecedented marketplace of truth and argument that far surpasses ancient Greece or any other place one can name. Don’t believe it? Read on!
Thursday, August 9 2012
Starting in small clubs and eventually opening for Black Panther rallies, Jimmie Walker became an icon, playing J. J. on Good Times. He was the first successful young black sitcom star, and his catchphrase -- “Dyn-o-mite!” -- remains an indicator of the era.
Thursday, August 2 2012
Harper’s contributing ed. Garret Keizer considers the moral dimensions of privacy in relation to issues of social justice, economic inequality, and the increasing commoditization of the global marketplace.
Thursday, July 26 2012
Between 1942 and 1958, J. Edgar Hoover's FBI conducted a sweeping investigation of the motion picture industry to expose Hollywood's alleged subversion of "the American Way" through its depiction of social problems, class differences, and alternative political ideologies.
Thursday, July 19 2012
Through research, interviews, and firsthand experience, the authors analyze the challenges many Arab nations face in building democratic institutions, finding consensus on political Islam and overcoming tribal divides.
Thursday, July 12 2012
The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code
Genes explain those crazy cat ladies, why some have no fingerprints, and why others survive nuclear bombs. Genes give some flexibility in their thumbs and fingers, and they might then become truly singular violinists. Sam Kean explains human history and whimsy while showing how DNA influences our species' future.
Monday, July 2 2012
A tale of friendship tested to the limit, noble myths, love lost and found, perfect lyrics, and good times as two friends from London drive across the US to pay homage to the roots of Rock and Roll.
Thursday, June 28 2012
At the peak of its popularity, go-go could be heard around the US capital every night of the week, on college campuses and in crumbling historic theaters, hole-in-the-wall nightclubs, back yards, and city parks.
Friday, June 22 2012
Employing his trademark inquiry of emotions in American history, Peter Stearns asks why, if modern life has been generally characterized by measurable themes of progress, abundance, and improvement, are people not happier or more content with their lot in life?
Thursday, June 14 2012
Meghan McCain and Michael Ian Black barely know each other. But they are about to change the way politics are discussed in America. Or at least the way politics are discussed in their crappy RV on this month-long road trip.
Thursday, May 31 2012
Herein are the tales of three dangerous Venus Transit voyages that risked every mortal peril—a quest that raced to an unforgettable climax, when the universe suddenly became much larger than anyone had dared to imagine.
Thursday, May 24 2012
In 1953, the American and British intelligence agencies launched a coup in Iran against a bedridden 72-year-old man. Muhammad Mossadegh's crimes had been to flirt with communism and to nationalize his country's oil industry, which for 40 years had been in British hands. Mossadegh must go.
Thursday, May 17 2012
Anthropologist John Fox sets off on a worldwide adventure to the farthest reaches of the globe and the deepest recesses of our ancient past to answer a question inspired by his sports-loving son: "Why do we play ball?"
Thursday, May 10 2012
In 1976 the creators of National Lampoon, America’s most popular humor magazine, decided to make a movie.
Wednesday, May 2 2012
With exclusive new interviews from Velvet Underground, this is a captivating account of one of the most influential groups in rock history.
Thursday, April 26 2012
We humans eat a wide array of plants and animals, but unlike other omnivores we eat with our minds as much as our stomachs.
Thursday, April 19 2012
No other instrument has witnessed such a dramatic rise to popularity -- and precipitous decline -- as the accordion. Squeeze This! is the first history of the piano accordion and the first book-length study of the accordion as a uniquely American musical and cultural phenomenon.
Thursday, April 12 2012
A chilling account of how a low-level, small-minded KGB operative ascended to the Russian presidency and, in an astonishingly short time, destroyed years of progress and made his country once more a threat to her own people and to the world.
Thursday, April 5 2012
English language expert David Crystal takes readers on a tour of the winding byways of our language via the rude, the obscure and the downright surprising.
Thursday, March 29 2012
Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow's Drift argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails.
Thursday, March 22 2012
Henry Mancini has sold 30 million albums and won four Oscars and 20 Grammy awards. Through Mancini, mere background music in movies became part of pop culture -- an expression of sophistication and wit with a modern sense of cool and a lasting lyricism that has not dated.
Thursday, March 15 2012
This reprint of the cult classic memoir, based on Ellen Ullman’s early years as a computer programmer, reaffirms the reach and relevance of her thoughts on technology and creativity. Her insight is also foresight, and her story remains immediate, critical – and very entertaining.
Thursday, March 8 2012
Four jazz musicians from Brooklyn, Ghana, and South Africa demonstrate how modern Africa reshaped jazz, how modern jazz helped form a new African identity, and how such musical crossings altered the politics and culture of both continents.
Thursday, March 1 2012
From gospel to soul, funk to freestyle, Kevin Young sifts through the shadows, the bootleg, the remix, the grey areas of our history, literature, and music.
Thursday, February 23 2012
This posthumous memoir provides Scott-Heron’s keen insights into the music industry, the civil rights movement, modern America, governmental hypocrisy, and our wider place in the world.
Thursday, February 16 2012
The usefulness of physical money -- to say nothing of its value -- is coming under fire as never before. Told with verve and wit, this book explores an aspect of our daily lives so fundamental that we rarely stop to think about it. You’ll never look at a dollar bill the same again.