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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sara Antonelli - Dai Sixties a Bush Jr.: La Cultura USA Contemporanea

Dai Sixties a Bush Jr.: La Cultura USA Contemporanea (From the Sixties to Bush Jr.: the Contemporary USA Culture), a book that I've read in Romanian translation. I found it absolutely by chance at the mall, in a pile of used books, completely unrelated each other in content or style or category of targeted readers or anything else, while sharing the same sizes (100 - 150 pages) and price (a couple of bucks). The author, Sara Antonelli, is teaching Anglo-American literature at Università degli Studi Roma Tre and is in charge with the cultural programs at the American Studies Center in Rome.

A book about the evolution of American society starting with the 1960's and going toward present, and in parallel the evolution of American culture: fifty years of dramatic changes that completely reshaped everything there. All this presented in a very condensed form while nothing is left aside, and you need guts to read the book, as paragraph after paragraph is filled with consistent information. The way the changes in society and culture are paralleled and put in sync is remarkable, perhaps the main merit of this book. Virulent social disproof mirrored in counter-culture. I was particularly impressed by the way Post-Modern Art and Post-Industrial Society were traced together in the book: a civilization of sophisticated highways linking failed cities, a network of global knowledge versus lost local businesses and opportunities. I would add that the network is no magic, thus another dichotomy: failed cities - affluent suburbs.

Well, to talk consistently in only about 140 pages about Kerouac and Beat Generation, New Frontier, Great Society and Vietnam, New Left, and The Feminine Mystique, off-off-Broadway and Woodstock, Black Power and Black Panther Party, Watergate, Reaganomics, Minimalism and Pop Art, Information Superhighway and much other stuff, that's challenging for the reader, while rewarding if you keep the pace. Rewarding, because it gives you the big picture knowing how to fill it with all needed details. And I did my best to keep the pace.

(Una Vita Tra I Libri)



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