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By the Book

The Art of Advertising (excerpt)

The Art of Advertising invites us to consider both the intended and unintended messages of the advertisements of the past.

Julie Anne Lambert
Recent
Books

The American Robot: A Cultural History [By the Book]

In The American Robot, Dustin A. Abnet explores how robots have not only conceptually connected but literally embodied some of the most critical questions in modern culture, as seen in this excerpt from chapter 5 "Building the Slaves of Tomorrow", courtesy of University of Chicago Press.

Dustin A. Abnet
Books

#HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice (Excerpt)

#Powertothepeople! The humble hashtag has given power to the powerless, thus helping to engage citizenship and cultural belonging. Enjoy this excerpt of #HashtagActivism, courtesy of MIT Press, written by influential members of hashtag activism networks.

Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey, Brooke Foucault Welles
Books

Love Songs: The Hidden History (Excerpt)

What do evolutionary biology and its founding father, Charles Darwin, have to do with love songs? As it turns out, quite a lot. Enjoy this excerpt of Ted Gioia's Love Songs: The Hidden History, courtesy of Oxford University Press.

Ted Gioia
Books

The U.S. Anti-Fascism Reader [By the Book]

Donald Trump's rise in American politics is not a resurgence of fascism, argues professor Enzo Traverso in his essay, "Trump's Savage Capitalism" -- it is something else. Traverso's essay is published in this excerpt from The U.S. Anti-Fascism Reader, courtesy of Verso Books.

Enzo Traverso
Books

Airline Maps: A Century of Art and Design (By the Book)

In this gorgeously illustrated collection of airline route maps, Airline Maps: A Century of Art and Design, Mark Ovenden and Maxwell Roberts look to the skies and transport readers to another time. Enjoy this excerpt, courtesy of Penguin Books.

Mark Ovenden and Maxwell J. Roberts
Books

Michel Pastoureau's 'Yellow: The History of a Color' (By the Book)

Focusing on European societies, with comparisons from East Asia, India, Africa, and South America, Yellow tells the intriguing story of the color's evolving place in art, religion, fashion, literature, and science. Enjoy this excerpt of historian Michel Pastoureau's Yellow: The History of a Color, courtesy of Princeton University Press.

Michel Pastoureau
Books

Abjection Incorporated: Mediating the Politics of Pleasure and Violence (By the Book)

Escaping abjection's usual confines of psychoanalysis and aesthetic modernism, the contributors to Abjection Incorporated examine a range of media, including literature, photography, film, television, talking dolls, comics, and manga. Enjoy this generous excerpt, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maggie Hennefeld and Nicholas Sammond
Books

Face: A Visual Odyssey (By the Book)

By turns alarming and awe-inspiring, Jessica Helfand's Face: A Visual Odyssey offers an elaborately illustrated A to Z—from the didactic anthropometry of the late 19th century to the selfie-obsessed zeitgeist of the 21st. Enjoy this excerpt of Face, courtesy of MIT Press.

Jessica Helfand
Books

PROTEST! A History of Social and Political Protest Graphics (By the Book)

From the French, Mexican, and Sandinista revolutions to the American civil rights movement, nuclear disarmament, and the Women's March of 2017, PROTEST!, by Liz McQuiston, documents the integral role of the visual arts in passionate efforts for change. Enjoy this excerpt, courtesy of Princeton University Press.

Liz McQuiston
Music

Billy Vera Documents a Legendary Label With 'Rip It Up: The Specialty Records Story'

Grammy-winner Billy Vera spent years working in the Speciality Records vaults and remains close to label founder Art Rupe. "Specialty is right up there with Atlantic, Chess, and Sun in terms of being important." Enjoy an interview with the author and an exclusive book excerpt.

Jedd Beaudoin
Books

Irving Berlin: New York Genius (By the Book)

Exploring the interplay of Irving Berlin's life with the life of New York City, noted biographer James Kaplan offers a visceral narrative of Berlin as self-made man and witty, wily, tough Jewish immigrant. Enjoy this excerpt of Kaplan's book, Irving Berlin: New York Genius.

James Kaplan
Books

Jimmy Marble's 'Dream Baby Dream' (By the Book)

Dream Baby Dream showcases the photography of Los Angeles-based award-winning photographer, director, and designer Jimmy Marble. This excerpt of his photography book is bright, warm, sunny, and sexy.

Jimmy Marble
Books

'Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future' (By the Book)

Alice Gorman looks to the skies for her latest exploration into one of the most incredibly significant, yet vastly overlooked archeological sites in human history: space. Enjoy this excerpt of her findings from Dr Space Junk vs the Universe.

Alice Gorman
Books

Ted Gioia's 'Music: A Subversive History' (By the Book)

"Sound," writes musician, author, and historian Ted Gioia in Music: A Subversive History, "is the ultimate source of genesis... A song can contain a cataclysm." In this beguiling excerpt, Gioia leads us to the sound of the universe itself.

Ted Gioia
Books

The Cigarette: A Political History (By the Book)

Sarah Milov's The Cigarette restores politics to its rightful place in the tale of tobacco's rise and fall, illustrating America's continuing battles over corporate influence, individual responsibility, collective choice, and the scope of governmental power. Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 5. "Inventing the Nonsmoker".

Sarah Milov
Books

The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti (By the Book)

With discussions of characters like Leon Ray Livingston (a.k.a. "A-No. 1"), credited with consolidating the entire system of hobo communication in the 1910s, and Kathy Zuckerman, better known as the surf icon "Gidget", Susan A. Phillips' lavishly illustrated The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti, excerpted here from Yale University Press, tells stories of small moments that collectively build into broad statements about power, memory, landscape, and history itself.

Susan A. Phillips
Books

On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey (By the Book)

Paul Theroux is among PopMatters' favorite travel writers. In this excerpt of On the Plain of Snakes, wherein he traverses the Mexico/US border, Theroux takes us to the ancient city of Oaxaca, bringing forth the dignity of its Zapotec and Mixtec people.

Books

By the Book: 'Rocking the Closet: How Little Richard, Johnnie Ray, Liberace, and Johnny Mathis Queered Pop Music'

Vincent L. Stephens confronts notions of the closet—both coming out and staying in—by analyzing the careers of Liberace, Johnny Mathis, Johnnie Ray, and Little Richard. This excerpt of Rocking the Closet explores the work of "Mr. Emotion", Johnnie Ray.

Books

By the Book: Soviet Metro Stations

Underground palaces in communist spaces provide not only transport but also refuge in the former USSR. Enjoy this excerpt of photographer Christopher Herwig and author Owen Hatherley's Soviet Metro Stations, from FUEL Publishing.

Christopher Herwig and Owen Hatherley
Books

By the Book: I'd Fight the World: A Political History of Old-Time, Hillbilly, and Country Music

I'd Fight the World explores the connection between country music and electoral politics, giving us a glimpse into how politicians used celebrity long before the rise of the "movie-actor president" and the "Twitter president".

Books

By the Book: 'An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels'

Focusing on vinyl records and the labels that released them, An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels traces the parallel rise of social movements in the second half of the twentieth century and the vinyl record as the dominant form of music distribution.

Books

By the Book: 'Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles'

In Solid State, acclaimed Beatles historian Kenneth Womack offers the most definitive account yet of the writing, recording, mixing, and reception of Abbey Road. (excerpt)

Books

By the Book: Pick up the Pieces: Excursions in Seventies Music

In this excerpt of '70s music, Pick up the Pieces, John Corbett puts his critique of Kraftwerk's Autobahn to poetry and pogos with his conflict for the Clash and their album, The Clash.

Books

By the Book: 'A Hidden Landscape Once a Week'

In this excerpt of a history of the UK music press, A Hidden Landscape Once a Week, Tony Stewart recalls his time as writer and deputy editor at NME (1971-85) — the strengths and pleasures of teamwork and the vital role of the visual in the energies of a rock paper.

Books

Beauty and Power: Artist Lorna Simpson's Coded Language of 'Black' Hair

In this beautiful excerpt from Lorna Simpson Collages, Chronicle books shares with PopMatters readers' selections from the renowned artist's collection and a poignant introduction by award-winning poet, Elizabeth Alexander.

Books

Dream Baby Dream: Suicide - A New York Story

In response to the politics, culture and sheer madness of early '70s New York, artist Alan Vega and musician Martin Rev created the counter-cultural performance art statement that was Suicide.

Kris Needs
Music

The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1963

A new sound was cropping up in Detroit in the late '50s, a sound quite unlike anything heard before.

Ed Ward
Music

A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen

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.

Liel Leibovitz
Books

No Quarter: The Three Lives of Jimmy Page

In this excerpt of Martin Power's biography, Jimmy Page learns guitar, thanks to the skiffle, and makes his first television appearance as a young teen.

Martin Power
Books

Are You 'Wasting Time on the Internet'? Is That Such a Bad Thing? (Excerpt)

"I'm reading these days -- ironically, on the web -- that we don't read anymore," writes Kenneth Goldsmith in this excerpt of Wasting Time on the Internet, courtesy of HarperCollins.

Kenneth Goldsmith
Books

This Mortal Coil: The Human Body in History and Culture

How we feel and think about our bodies "has shifted across times and cultures, taking and losing definition due to any number of forces and trends-philosophical, religious, cultural, technological."

Fay Bound Alberti
Books

'Doctor Who' and the Constraints of the American Cultural Cold War

Decolonization, shifting demographics and the rise of the US needed to be understood and processed through the British popular imagination. The Doctor landed his TARDIS just in time to help.

Mindy Clegg
Books

Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything

Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David: "like Harold Pinter or Samuel Beckett for television." What more does one need?

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
Books

Doctor Who: "Seeing patterns in things that aren't there"

How a '90s Doctor Who might have been uniquely Doctor Who while differing greatly from what it actually ended up becoming.

Paul Booth
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