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American Culture in the 1930s

David Eldridge

Hardback i (Printed to Order)
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This book provides an insightful overview of the major cultural forms of 1930s America: literature and drama, music and radio, film and photography, art and design, and a chapter on the role of the federal government in the development of the arts. The intellectual context of 1930s American culture is a strong feature, whilst case studies of influential texts and practitioners of the decade - from War of the Worlds to The Grapes of Wrath and from Edward Hopper to the Rockefeller Centre - help to explain the cultural impulses of radicalism, nationalism and escapism that characterize the United States in the 1930s.

Key Features

  • 3 case studies per chapter featuring key texts, genres, writers and artists
  • Chronology of 1930s American Culture
  • Bibliographies for each chapter
  • 22 black and white illustrations


List of Figures
List of Case Studies
Chronology of 1930s American Culture
Introduction: The Intellectual Context
1. Literature and Drama
2. Film and Photography
3. Music and Radio
4. Art and Design
5. New Deal Culture
Conclusion: The Cultural Legacy of the 1930s

About the Author

David Eldridge is Director of American Studies at the University of Hull. He specialises in the history of American culture and is the author of Hollywood’s History Films (I.B. Tauris, 2006).


Vivid, wide-ranging and original, David Eldridge is a perceptive guide, conducting his readers through the maze of American culture in the 1930s. This is a book to inspire students, inform general readers and challenge scholars to generate further research.
- Nicholas J. Cull, Director of the Public Diplomacy Program, University of Southern California
Each chapter handles a different form of 1930s expression with a sure and light touch, and Eldridge’s synchronic approach matches the multifarious ethos of the era very well.
- Catherine Gander, University of East Anglia, Journal of American Studies
This particular volume will be of interest to historians of American culture who are not specialists in the interwar period, and it would also be a good book for instructors to consider using in undergraduate courses on the period. The book contains detailed timelines of various cultural developments in the 1930s as well as a thorough and well-chosen bibliography, features that add to a solid synthetic cultural history of the 1930s.
- Michael Stamm, Michigan State university, American Journalism
"the book's main strength is in its balanced analysis, strongest in the fine chapters on film and photography, music and radio, and New Deal culture. As a result of this nuanced approach, American Culture in the 1930's can act as more than a wonderful primer for sixth formers and undergraduates - Eldridge suggests room for the critical reassessment of areas of cultural production, inviting further academic research and discussion, and thereby a deepening understanding of this astonishing decade." 
- Niall Munro, Oxford Brookes University , American Studies Today, Issue 19

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