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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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User Review  - drbrand - LibraryThing

After World War II, Americans began to change their attitude toward the role of consumption in constructing American identity and values. Actively discouraged by the American government during the war ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Kirkus

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

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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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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