Recommend to your Librarian

American Cold War Culture

Douglas Field


Although it is fifty years since the height of the Cold War, recent events have seen a resurgence of surveillance, paranoia and nuclear threats. Cultural critics and politicians are drawing parallels between the threat of Communism in the 1950s and 1960s and the present 'axis of evil'. This book taps into this interest, drawing on work from prominent academics as well as new theorists working in the field of Cold War Studies.

American Cold War Culture guides the reader through recent and established theories as well as introducing a number of previously neglected themes, films and texts. Divided into two parts (Cultural Themes and Cultural Forms) it features chapters on the themes of Gender and Sexuality; Race; Politics; the Family; Mobility; and the cultural forms of Film; Literature; Poetry; Television. The authors take a case study approach, and each chapter is prefaced by a contextualising introduction to the general theme or form being covered, ensuring accessibility to the broadest possible readership.

Key Features

  • A broad-ranging survey of Cold War Culture in America
  • Introductions to the chapters place the case studies in their wider context
  • Covers both high and low culture; and shows links between politics and culture
  • Focuses on neglected areas of gender, race and sexuality


Table of Contents
Douglas Field
1. THE FAMILY: Postwar Family Roles and the Polio Crisis
Jacqueline Foertsch
2. GENDER AND SEXUALITY: Cold War Homophobia in All About Eve
Robert Corber
3. POLITICS: Containment and the Cultural Construction of the Cold War
David Ryan
4. MOBILITY: Trailers in Cold War America
Dina Smith
5. RACE AND THE COLD WAR: Anxiety and Assimilation
Douglas Field

6. FILM: Disney's Song of the South and the Birth of the White Negro
Catherine Gunther Kodat
7. LITERATURE: George Orwell and the Cold War
Scott Lucas
8. TELEVISION: TV, Korea, and Cold War Brainwashing
Alan Nadel
9. POETRY: American Poetry of the 1950s and 1960s
Hugh Stevens.

About the Author

Douglas Field is an independent scholar who has taught at the University of York and Staffordshire University.


This book will work particularly well for teachers and students of American Studies at undergraduate level. The volume offers both a useful interdisciplinary overview of the major cultural issues for any student trying to get to grips with both the highbrow and everyday culture of the 1950s, as well as a well-measured introduction to newer ways of thinking about the relationship between politics and culture in the period.
- Dr Peter Knight, Department of English & American Studies, University of Manchester
The volume addresses a topic that has become central to undergraduate courses in American Studies. Douglas Field’s inclusion of essays on the construction of race and sexuality during the cold war renders the volume a vital resource as well for interdisciplinary courses that cross academic programs in gender studies, women’s studies and African-American Studies as well.
- Professor Donald E. Pease, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire