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An All-Consuming Century: Why Commercialism Won in Modern America
by Gary Cross
The unqualified victory of consumerism in America was not a foregone conclusion. The United States has traditionally been the home of the most aggressive and often thoughtful criticism of consumption, including Puritanism, Prohibition, the simplicity movement, the '60s hippies, and the consumer rights movement. But at the dawn of the twenty-first century, not only has Amer ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 14th 2000 by Columbia University Press
(first published 2000)
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The book is a wonderful synthesis of recent literature on American consumer society. Cross writes gracefully and without undue condemnation and hysteria. He obviously finds consumerism a poor basis upon which to operate a democratic society, but also realizes the difficulty of constructing alternative means of identity creation and social participation, especially amid the rapid social change of the 20th century. Consumerism is the path of least resistance, made easy by corporations, but also by ...more
The first pages left me wary. However, they left me after the introduction. Cross's discussion of consumerism in the 10th century is well-written and insightful. He focuses on all the most important aspects of the problem, including politics and everyday culture. Although the author clearly is enthusiastic about consumerism, this does not cloud his critical judgment, and he is capable of specifying his opinion in a compelling way in the conclusions to the book.