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Re: Please check this out and let me know if there is interest in "midcentury madness"

From: Anne
Sent on: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 8:27 PM

I think that to a degree best selling fiction reflects the culture of the time because it shows what themes the reading public responded to. The same is true of something like the Shirer book: if nobody had been interested in Nazi Germany, it wouldn't have been a best seller and for that matter Ship of Fools is largely about Nazism. 

My only hesitation about you reading Shirer is that we wouldn't be able to devote a lot of time to factual aspects, but it is certainly a valid choice.


On Tuesday, September 24, 2013, Dagmar wrote:
.Hi Anne,
Sunday afternoon would work fine. I agree with you that even though this was a big early 60s bestseller, it does not deal with the culture of the early 60s and neither would 1962 fiction like Katherine Porter's Ship of Fools or Mary Renault's novel. If books that address the early 60s written later as memoirs or retrospectives would work, I'd be interested in the early civil rights movement.
 James Meredith was admitted to Ole Miss in 1962 but the Birmingham  Baptist Church bombings killing the 4 Sunday school kids did not happen until 63 and "Missisippi Burning" came later.
 I'm attaching info on a few  books as ideas- but am very open to suggestion re other quality books about the times. I was only 12 in 1962 and grew up in New York where schools were integrated so I remember but only from what I saw on the evening news. Thee vents of 11/22/1963 remain very vivid in my mind- just like 9/11/2001. I also remember watching the listing of all the names concluding  the evening news each night ( Vietnam fatalities) and the Tate- La Bianca Manson family murder- all of which came later.

On Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 11:17 PM, Anne <[address removed]> wrote:

I was thinking the focus of the meeting would be what was culturally current in the U.S. in 1962.  There was definitely a lot of interest in the Third Reich so that fits in, but I don't know that we could devote a lot of time to the substance of the book. 

As I mentioned in the group email, the meeting will probably be on a Sunday afternoon, but I don't want to set a meeting until I get an indication of enough interest.


On Sep 23, 2013, at 8:22 PM, Dagmar <[address removed]> wrote:

Whether or not I can come in Nov depends on which night you hold the meeting. If you do this topic and I can come- I'd be interested in "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" which was on the NY Times bestseller list for 82 weeks in the early 60s- up until May 1962. I know its 1100 pages of reading- but its supposed to be well researched from primary sources and written to read like a novel. I really enjoyed Eric Metaxas' biography of Bonhoeffer . I've  also read the Eric Larson novel  about the family of the American ambassador to Germany during that time..

On Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 3:28 PM, Anne <[address removed]> wrote:

Hi to all! 

I was casting around for a mid-November meeting topic, and it crossed my mind that between the new J.D. Salinger bio, the rerelease of works of John O'Hara, Mad Men (yes, that's been around a while but it's still going strong and the early seasons are on DVD) and mid-century modern design popping up every place, the U.S. mid (twentieth!) century is having a bit of a moment. 

My kind of educated take on midcentury culture is that 1962 is an interesting year: tv had been around a while and was actually pretty sophisticated at times, rock'n'roll was here to stay, the World War II generation was in the political driver's seat, there was no hot war but the cold war was very scary, and we were pre-Kennedy assassination, pre-Beatles, and the modern civil rights movement was on the march. So, my idea was to let everyone pick a best seller from1962 (some will be very hard to find, some are readily available in libraries or online).

I'm attaching a link to fiction and nonfiction lists for July, 1962 but if you want to substitute a different best selling book from the same year, that's fine, just let me know.

If you want to participate in the "midcentury madness" project, please email me.  If you have identified a 1962 book that's not on the list I link to (easy to find via our hardworking librarian Miss Google) please let me know what it is.  If you want to read a book about midcentury U.S. life and culture, that's OK too, but please let me know what it is so I can add it to the official list and do try to pick something that would dovetail with the bestsellers of the actual era. 

If I get ten or more expressions of interest by Thursday, I will schedule a meeting with this theme, trying  to work out a time that's good for as many as possible of the yes responders.  Once we are out of the daylight savings zone, I usually schedule meetings on Sunday afternoon, but that's not an absolute.


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