Description : Ingenious automatons which appeared to think on their own. Dubious mermaids and wild men who resisted classification. Elegant sleight-of-hand artists who routinely exposed the secrets of their trade. These were some of the playful forms of fraud which astonished, titillated, and even outraged nineteenth-century America's new middle class, producing some of the most remarkable urban spectacles of the century. In The Arts of Deception, James W. Cook explores this distinctly modern mode of trickery designed to puzzle the eye and challenge the brain. Championed by the "Prince of Humbug," P. T. Barnum, these cultural puzzles confused the line between reality and illusion. Upsetting the normally strict boundaries of value, race, class, and truth, the spectacles offer a revealing look at the tastes, concerns, and prejudices of America's very first mass audiences. We are brought into the exhibition halls, theaters, galleries, and museums where imposture flourished, and into the minds of the curiosity-seekers who eagerly debated the wonders before their eyes. Cook creates an original portrait of a culture in which ambiguous objects, images, and acts on display helped define a new value system for the expanding middle class, as it confronted a complex and confusing world.
Description : The author of the best-selling The Great Depression of 1990 offers a critique of the economic ideas of the nation's current leaders and presents a program for stimulating the economy through higher tariffs. 60,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo.
Description : Derided for its conformity and consumerism, 1950s America paid a price in anxiety. Prosperity existed under the shadow of a mushroom cloud. Optimism wore a Bucky Beaver smile that masked worry over threats at home and abroad. But even dread could not quell the revolutionary changes taking place in virtually every form of mainstream music. Music historian James Wierzbicki sheds light on how the Fifties' pervasive moods affected its sounds. Moving across genres established--pop, country, opera--and transfigured--experimental, rock, jazz--Wierzbicki delves into the social dynamics that caused forms to emerge or recede, thrive or fade away. Red scares and white flight, sexual politics and racial tensions, technological progress and demographic upheaval--the influence of each rooted the music of this volatile period to its specific place and time. Yet Wierzbicki also reveals the host of underlying connections linking that most apprehensive of times to our own uneasy present.
Description : "The Fluoride Deception" unearths one of the great secret narratives of our age, how a grim workplace poison and the most damaging environmental pollutant of the Cold War was added to drinking water and toothpaste.
Description : An analysis of the ways that new media are experienced and studied as the subjects of history, using the examples of early recorded sound and digital networks.