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The American dream : a cultural history

Author: Lawrence R Samuel
Publisher: Syracuse : Syracuse University Press, 2012.
Edition/Format:   Book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
There is no better way to understand America than by understanding the cultural history of the American Dream. Rather than just a powerful philosophy or ideology, it is thoroughly woven into the fabric of everyday life, playing a vital role in who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Tracing the history of the phrase in popular culture, the author gives readers a field guide to the evolution of our national  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Lawrence R Samuel
ISBN: 9780815610076 0815610076
OCLC Number: 795164618
Description: 241 p. ; 24 cm.
Contents: The epic of America --
The status seekers --
The anti-paradise --
Born in the USA --
The anxious society --
American idol.
Responsibility: Lawrence R. Samuel.

Abstract:

There is no better way to understand America than by understanding the cultural history of the American Dream. Rather than just a powerful philosophy or ideology, it is thoroughly woven into the fabric of everyday life, playing a vital role in who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Tracing the history of the phrase in popular culture, the author gives readers a field guide to the evolution of our national identity over the last eighty years. No other idea or mythology has as much influence on our individual and collective lives. He tells the story chronologically, revealing that there have been six major eras of the mythology since the phrase was coined in 1931. Relying mainly on period magazines and newspapers as his primary source material, the author demonstrates that journalists serving on the front lines of the scene represent our most valuable resource to recover unfiltered stories of the Dream. The problem, he reveals, is that it does not exist; the Dream is just that, a product of our imagination. That it is not real ultimately turns out to be the most significant finding and what makes the story most compelling.

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