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Pop Goes the Decade: The Fifties

Pop Goes the Decade: The Fifties
Editorial Reviews

"Overall, Giordano's book is an easy read that provides general readers and students with an information-packed overview of the decade." - Booklist

"This compilation by architect and high school teacher Giordano can be approached as a reference source or a monographic work that delineates the cultural values, developments, and contributions of the era. . . . Summing Up: Highly recommended. High school through undergraduate students; general readers." - Choice

"An assignment-oriented pop culture reference, of some interest to general readers but most suited to researchers." - Library Journal

"Concise, informative, and inclusive, Pop Goes the Decade: The Fifties would be an appropriate addition to any library collection and particularly useful for undergraduate students doing historical research." - ARBAonline

Review from Booklist September 2017:
"America in the 1950s is often portrayed as halcyon years, but here Giordano strips away the veneer to expose an evenhanded view of the popular-culture landscape of the time. The work breaks down into subcategories such as “Television,” “Music,” “Sports,” and “Fashion” and explores issues that include racism, sexism, and McCarthyism. With the country being threatened by the Communist menace and young minds being subverted by influences such as rock ’n’ roll and comic books, it is easy to see why conservative America worked diligently to create the illusion of prosperous unity and harmony throughout the land. The time line could be a lot more robust, and there aren’t enough photographs or illustrations. But overall, Giordano’s book is an easy read that provides general readers and students with an information-packed overview of the decade." — Jim Frutchey

While the 1950s are often portrayed as an idyllic era, this decade should also be remembered for segregation and condoned violence against African Americans as well as rampant sexism.On the surface, the 1950s was a time of post-war prosperity and abundance. However, in spite of a relaxation of immigration policies, the "good life" in the 50s was mainly confined to white non-ethnic Americans. A new Cold War with the Soviet Union intended to contain the threat of Communism, and the resulting red scare tinged the experience of all U.S. citizens during the decade.

This book examines the key trends, people, and movements of the 1950s and inspects them within a larger cultural and social context. By highlighting controversies in the decade, readers will gain a better understanding of the social values and thinking of the time. The examination of the individuals who influenced American culture in the 1950s enables students to gauge the tension between established norms of conformity and those figures that used pop culture as a broad avenue for change—either intentionally, or by accident.

Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed the "Father of Rock 'n' Roll."
Bert the Turtle from the Civil Defense film "Duck and Cover."
Artist Saul Bass was influential in a new style for movie posters such as this one for "The Man with the golden Arm" (1955).