Evanston Public Library's Reviews > Mad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through 1960s America

Mad Men Unbuttoned by Natasha Vargas-Cooper
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Sep 03, 2010

Read in September, 2010

Ok, I admit it--I'm hooked on the TV series Mad Men. The Emmy-winning show offers a look back to what my life was like. Well, only in my imagination. Actually, I was just a pre-teenager, had never even been near New York city, was never, ever going to be able to fill out a dress like Joanie, and nobody I knew drank martinis. Let's just say I wished my life was that glamorous having not yet had my consciousness raised as far as attitudes towards women were concerned. In her sharply written, savvy overview of the era, Vargas-Cooper gives fans of the show the footnotes that flesh out the zeitgeist, and she delivers them with a surprising amount of depth. She introduces us to the real "mad men" behind the show's characters; explains the aesthetic principles and trends of the fashions and décor; and reveals the evolution of the ads themselves and how various campaigns were developed. She also explores the shifting times and the looming collision of the Brooks Brothers suits with the torn jeans and ragged t-shirts that is alluded to in some episodes. Having grown up during that period, and having been both a preppie co-ed and hippie protestor, I love stuff about the 60s. Throw in my 15-year career in advertising, albeit in Chicago not New York, and you can understand why I get such a kick out of the show. Having this book as a companion to the show just increased my enjoyment. For those who lived through it and those whose parents did, here is a great choice for those who wish to delve into this fascinating era. In a wonderful instance of synchronicity, my daily calendar offered this quote on the very day I finished the book: "Whoever controls the media--the images--controls the culture." Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), poet, activist, outspoken critic of the Establishment, member of the New York Beats in the late 50s and early 60s. How apt. (Barbara L., Reader's Services)
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