Annal: 1995 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 1995.

Book:Fables of Abundance

Fables of Abundance: A Cultural History of Advertising in America

Jackson Lears

Fables of Abundance ranges from the traveling peddlers of early modern Europe to the twentieth-century American corporation, exploring the ways that advertising collaborated with other cultural institutions to produce the dominant aspirations and anxieties in the modern United States.

Book:Marketing Modernism in Fin-de-Siècle Europe

Marketing Modernism in Fin-de-Siècle Europe

Robert Jensen

In this fundamental rethinking of the rise of modernism from its beginnings in the Impressionist movement, Robert Jensen reveals that market discourses were pervasive in the ideological defense of modernism from its very inception and that the avant-garde actually thrived on the commercial appeal of anti-commercialism at the turn of the century. The commercial success of modernism, he argues, depended greatly on possession of historical legitimacy. The very development of modern art was inseparable from the commercialism many of its proponents sought to transcend. Here Jensen explores the economic, aesthetic, institutional, and ideological factors that led to its dominance in the international art world by the early 1900s. He emphasizes the role of the emerging dealer/gallery market and of modernist art historiographies in evaluating modern art and legitimizing it through the formation of a canon of modernist masters. …[more]

Book:Rewriting the Soul

Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences of Memory

Ian Hacking

Twenty-five years ago one could list by name the tiny number of multiple personalities recorded in the history of Western medicine, but today hundreds of people receive treatment for dissociative disorders in every sizable town in North America. Clinicians, backed by a grassroots movement of patients and therapists, find child sexual abuse to be the primary cause of the illness, while critics accuse the “MPD” community of fostering false memories of childhood trauma. Here the distinguished philosopher Ian Hacking uses the MPD epidemic and its links with the contemporary concept of child abuse to scrutinize today’s moral and political climate, especially our power struggles about memory and our efforts to cope with psychological injuries.

“In this brilliant and provocative new book, Ian Hacking fixes his searching gaze on the hot topic of multiple personality. The results are remarkable…. In Hacking’s hands, multiple personality emerges as a paradigmatic case study illuminating…[more]

Book:Speak Now Against the Day

Speak Now Against the Day: The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South

John Egerton

Speak Now Against the Day is the astonishing, little-known story of the Southerners who, in the generation before the Supreme Court outlawed school segregation and before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat on a Montgomery bus, challenged the validity of a white ruling class and a “separate but equal” division of the races. The voices of the dissenters, although present throughout the South’s troubled history, grew louder with Roosevelt’s election in 1932. An increasing number of men and women who grappled daily with the economic and social woes of the South began forcefully and courageously to speak and to work toward the day when the South—and the nation—would deliver on the historic promises in the country’s founding documents. This is the story of those brave prophets—the ministers, writers, educators, journalists, social activists, union members, and politicians, black and white, who pointed the way to higher ground.

Book:Stalin and the Bomb

Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy, 1939-1956

David Holloway

In engrossing detail, David Holloway tells us how Stalin launched a crash atomic program only after the Americans bombed Hiroshima and showed that the bomb could be built; how the information handed over to the Soviets by Klaus Fuchs helped in the creation of their bomb; how the scientific intelligentsia, which included such men as Andrei Sakharov, interacted with the police apparatus headed by the suspicious and menacing Lavrentii Beria; what steps Stalin took to counter U.S. atomic diplomacy; how the nuclear project saved Soviet physics and enabled it to survive as an island of intellectual autonomy in a totalitarian society; and what happened when, after Stalin’s death, Soviet scientists argued that a nuclear war might extinguish all life on earth.

This magisterial history throws light on Soviet policy at the height of the Cold War, illuminates a central but hitherto secret element of the Stalinist system, and puts into perspective the tragic legacy of this program—today environmental damage, a network of secret cities, and a huge stockpile of unwanted weapons.

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