Outside The Gates Of Eden: The Dream Of America From Hiroshima To Now

Hardcover | April 11, 2014

byPeter Bacon Hales

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Exhilaration and anxiety, the yearning for community and the quest for identity: these shared, contradictory feelings course through Outside the Gates of Eden, Peter Bacon Hales’s ambitious and intoxicating new history of America from the atomic age to the virtual age.
           
Born under the shadow of the bomb, with little security but the cold comfort of duck-and-cover, the postwar generations lived through—and led—some of the most momentous changes in all of American history. Hales explores those decades through perceptive accounts of a succession of resonant moments, spaces, and artifacts of everyday life—drawing unexpected connections and tracing the intertwined undercurrents of promise and peril. From sharp analyses of newsreels of the first atomic bomb tests and the invention of a new ideal American life in Levittown; from the music emerging from the Brill Building and the Beach Boys, and a brilliant account of Bob Dylan’s transformations; from the painful failures of communes and the breathtaking utopian potential of the early days of the digital age, Hales reveals a nation, and a dream, in transition, as a new generation began to make its mark on the world it was inheriting.
           
Full of richly drawn set-pieces and countless stories of unforgettable moments, Outside the Gates of Eden is the most comprehensive account yet of the baby boomers, their parents, and their children, as seen through the places they built, the music and movies and shows they loved, and the battles they fought to define their nation, their culture, and their place in what remains a fragile and dangerous world.

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From the Publisher

Exhilaration and anxiety, the yearning for community and the quest for identity: these shared, contradictory feelings course through Outside the Gates of Eden, Peter Bacon Hales’s ambitious and intoxicating new history of America from the atomic age to the virtual age.             Born under the shadow of the bomb, with little security...

Peter Bacon Hales is professor emeritus of the history of art and architecture and director emeritus of the American Studies Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the author of several books, including, most recently, Atomic Spaces: Living on the Manhattan Project. He lives and writes in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:496 pages, 10 × 7 × 1.3 inPublished:April 11, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226313158

ISBN - 13:9780226313153

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Table of Contents

An Introduction
 
Chapter 1: The Atomic Sublime
Chapter 2: Bombing the West, 1951
Chapter 3: Tracking Shot: Miracle on 34th Street and the Birth of an Atomic America
Chapter 4: Looking at Levittown
Chapter 5: Levittown’s Palimpsest: Colored Skin
Chapter 6: Mr. Levitt’s Television
Chapter 7: The Incredible Exploding House, Yucca Flat, Nevada, March, 1953
Chapter 8: Lucy!
Chapter 9: Technologies of Space and Place, 1962
Chapter 10: Two Satellites, 1962
Chapter 11: Portable Communities: Radio, 1962
Chapter 12: Dylan’s America
Chapter 13: Hendrix on Mt. Pisgah
Chapter 14: Counter-Landscapes
Chapter 15: Retreating to Utopia
Chapter 16: Pong versus Computer Space, 1972
Chapter 17. Simerica
 
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

"This is an emphatically cultural history of the US from 1945 to the present. . . . The book’s approach to culture is expansive, taking in the scripts of television programmes and one iconic movie (Miracle on 34th Street), the various models of housing in the planned community of Levittown, New York, images of nuclear holocaust, the changing scope and design of video games, and the lyrics of popular songs. Hales’ goal is to examine 'how the most influential forms of media and cultural representations chose to frame the national struggle for identity and meaning.' He sees American identity as fragile, in constant need of reinvention and, since the first hovering mushroom cloud came to define a world always on the brink of annihilation, veering between fear and optimism."