Preface 1. The Irony of a Century 2. Setting the Course, 1900--1930 3. Promises of More, 1930--1960 4. Coping with Abundance 5. A New Consumerism, 1960--1980 6. Markets Triumphant, 1980--2000 7. An Ambiguous Legacy Index
An All-Consuming Century is a rich history of how market goods came to dominate American life over the hundred years between 1900 and 2000 and why for the first time in history there are no practical limits to consumerism.
Good history of consumerism in past 100 years. Contains extensive index on consumer culture. -- Ruth Jean Shaw, AASL, "Outstanding" Rated Titles from University Press Books: Selected for Public and Secondary School Libraries, also selected for Public Libraries In this sweeping study of Americans'spending habits and attitudes, Gary Cross argues that consumerism was the 'ism'that won the twentieth century. This bold argument transcends the jeremiads and celebrations to assess the triumph of American consumer culture in all its complexity. The book is destined to spark debate and provide ample food for thought and soul searching as we decide what kind of society we want to become in the twenty-first century. -- Elaine May, University of Minnesota, author of Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era Attention shoppers! In his comprehensive, lively and nuanced history, Gary Cross demonstrates that all of the "isms" of the twentieth century were trumped by a near universal desire to become consumers. Cross's understanding both of the satisfactions of acquiring things, and of the discontents that lurk beneath gives this study a depth and empathy that's rare in studies of commercial culture. -- Tom Hine, author of The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager and Populuxe
Gary Cross, professor of history at Penn State, is author of numerous articles and eight books, including Kid's Stuff: Toys and the Changing Worlds of American Childhood, Time and Money: The Making of Consumer Culture, A Quest for Time: The Reduction of Work in Britain and France, and Technology and American Society.
The best survey yet written of the history of modern American consumer society... Avoiding the extremes of celebration and condemnation that too often pass for analysis, Cross's searching book is imbued with a generous concern for the revival of an active, democratic and participatory public sphere. -- Lawrence B. Glickman The Nation Cross shows how 'private, widespread and ephemeral commodity culture'has altered daily life, 'especially how people relate to nature and to one another.'The author of fine historical studies of various aspects of consumer culture, Cross is particularly well placed to undertake such a daunting task. Journal of American History By telling the story of how consumerism trumped social forces from Prohibition to the Simplicity movement, Cross brilliantly re-evaluates the bonds of family and community sold off to pay for the stuff with which we now populate our lives. San Francisco Chronicle It takes a historian to provide an appreciation of how far Americans have wandered from the days when consumerism was slightly suspect, and Gary Cross is superbly up to the task. -- Alan Wolfe The New Republic Cross has done prodigious work on the era that redefined the pursuit of happiness as the unbounded desire for goods. Building on an impressive range of scholarship, he lays out the sinews of a dazzling 100 years of American productivity chock full of the economic equivalents of flying rugs and magic lamps. -- Tom Engelhardt Los Angeles Times Book Review [An] absorbing cultural history of how Americans' personal and public identities have evolved in relationship with consumer goods. Publishers Weekly This readable modern history is enlivened. The Economist Thought-provoking... Cross has offered a perceptive view of how American identities have evolved and are perceived in relation to a thriving consumer culture. -- Margaret Walsh, University of Nottingham History The great merit of this book is that it characterizes consumerism as a social and political force. Unlike many critics who simply reduce consumerism to the individual pursuit of material comfort, Cross casts it as a compelling ideology that concretely expresses the major ideals that have guided the last century: liberty and democracy. -- Norman Wirzba Christian Reflection