The Noir Forties by Richard Lingeman
The American People From Victory to Cold War

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From one of our finest cultural historians, The Noir Forties is a vivid reexamination of America’s postwar period, that “age of anxiety” characterized by the dissipation of victory dreams, the onset of the Red Scare, and a nascent resistance to the growing Cold War consensus.

Richard Lingeman examines a brief but momentous and crowded time, the years between VJ Day and the beginning of the Korean War, describing how we got from there to here. It evokes the social and cultural milieu of the late forties, with the vicissitudes of the New Deal Left and Popular Front culture from the end of one hot war and the beginning of the cold one—and, longer term, of a cold war that preoccupied the United States for the next fifty years. It traces the attitudes, sentiments, hopes and fears, prejudices, behavior, and collective dreams and nightmares of the times, as reflected in the media, popular culture, political movements, opinion polls, and sociological and psychological studies of mass beliefs and behavior.


About Richard Lingeman

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Richard Lingeman is the longtime Senior Editor of The Nation and a biographer, historian, and satirist. He began his career as an editor at Monocle magazine, and spent nine years at the New York Times Book Review as an editor and daily reviewer. He is the author of Sinclair Lewis: Rebel from Main Street, Theodore Dreiser: An American Journey, and Double Lives: American Authors' Friendships, among other titles. He lives in New York City.
Published December 4, 2012 by Nation Books. 434 pages
Genres: History. Non-fiction

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He gives much attention to union activity but struggles with the role of domestic communism, cheerfully asserting that "the most militant and effective unions in the South were Communist-led ones," but bristling at denunciations of "alleged Communist infiltration of unions."

Dec 04 2012 | Read Full Review of The Noir Forties: The America...

Publishers Weekly

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In this candid reappraisal of America’s postwar era, Lingeman (Don’t You Know There’s a War On?), a veteran senior editor of the Nation, covers the years between the end of WWII and the beginning of the Korean War, focusing specifically on the shift of the American mood during this time fro...

Oct 15 2012 | Read Full Review of The Noir Forties: The America...

Washington Independent Review of Books

In The Noir Forties: The American People from Victory to Cold War, Richard Lingeman takes readers through the five years following conquest of the Axis.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

(Even if accidentally: Lingeman explains that the dark lighting and use of smoke and mirrors characteristic of the genre were deployed out of necessity to disguise the cheap props and shabby sets that resulted from wartime’s material shortages.) "Fictional war films seemed phony because they comp...

Dec 10 2012 | Read Full Review of The Noir Forties: The America...

Los Angeles Review of Books

(Disclosure: Lingeman is senior editor at The Nation, and I am a contributing editor at the magazine, but he does not edit me.) Lingeman opens each chapter with a wonderful page of “Voices” — for the first chapter on end-of-war euphoria, we have Milton Berle and Spike Jones’s wonderful song “Le...

Jan 14 2013 | Read Full Review of The Noir Forties: The America...

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