A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 24, 2008 - History - 576 pages
In this signal work of history, Bancroft Prize winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Lizabeth Cohen shows how the pursuit of prosperity after World War II fueled our pervasive consumer mentality and transformed American life.

Trumpeted as a means to promote the general welfare, mass consumption quickly outgrew its economic objectives and became synonymous with patriotism, social equality, and the American Dream. Material goods came to embody the promise of America, and the power of consumers to purchase everything from vacuum cleaners to convertibles gave rise to the power of citizens to purchase political influence and effect social change. Yet despite undeniable successes and unprecedented affluence, mass consumption also fostered economic inequality and the fracturing of society along gender, class, and racial lines. In charting the complex legacy of our “Consumers’ Republic” Lizabeth Cohen has written a bold, encompassing, and profoundly influential book.

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A CONSUMERS' REPUBLIC: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America

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Pop quiz: Patriotism involves (a) giving your life for your country; (b) flying the flag on national holidays; (c) shopping till you drop. If you answered (c), you'll be well prepared to follow this ... Read full review

A consumer's republic: the politics of mass consumption in postwar America

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Cohen, the Bancroft Prize-winning author of Creating a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939, has written a detailed study of how the mass consumption of consumer goods shaped U.S ... Read full review


The Emergence of the Consumers Republic
Forcing Open the Doors of Public Accommodations
Inequality in Mass Suburbia
Reconfiguring Community Marketplaces
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About the author (2008)

Lizabeth Cohen is Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies in the Department of History at Harvard University. She is the author of Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919—1939, which won the Bancroft Prize and the Philip Taft Labor History Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written many articles and essays and is coauthor (with David Kennedy) of The American Pageant. She lives in Belmont, Massachusetts, with her husband and two daughters.

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