American Studies

Version: Unabridged
Author: Louis Menand
Narrator: Ron McLarty
Genres: History
Publisher: HighBridge Company
Published In: September 2003
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 6 hours
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At each step of this journey through American cultural history, Louis Menand has an original point to make: he explains the real significance of William James's nervous breakdown, and of the anti-Semitism in T. S. Eliot's writing. He reveals the reasons for the remarkable commercial successes of William Shawn's New Yorker and William Paley's CBS. He uncovers the connection between Larry Flynt's Hustler and Jerry Falwell's evangelism, between the atom bomb and the Scholastic Aptitude Test. He locates the importance of Richard Wright, Norman Mailer, Pauline Kael, Christopher Lasch, and Rolling Stone magazine. And he lends an ear to Al Gore in the White House as the Starr Report is finally presented to the public.

Like his critically acclaimed bestseller, The Metaphysical Club, American Studies is intellectual and cultural history at its best: game and detached, with a strong curiosity about the political underpinnings of ideas and about the reasons successful ideas insinuate themselves into the culture at large. From one of our leading thinkers and critics, known both for his "sly wit and reportorial high-jinks [and] clarity and rigor" (The Nation), these essays are incisive, surprising, and impossible to put down.

Reviews (1)

American tudies

Written by Tom Brenn from Memphis, TN on September 2nd, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Despite its five CDs this is a quick read. It is an eclectic series of essays on subjects as diverse as Oliver Wendell Holmes and the magazines Rolling Stone and the New Yorker. If you are a regular (or have been for the last forty years), many "little secrets" are revealed---from the inner politics at the magazine to the eccentricities of the editors and writers. Add all of the others "profiled," and you have an educational and entertaining fare. The essay format is perfect for the short ride or just a little before sleep.

Author Details

Author Details

Menand, Louis

Louis Menand, professor of English at Harvard University, is the author of The Metaphysical Club, which won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in History. A longtime staff writer for The New Yorker, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.