Authors & Events
May 02, 2000
| ISBN 9780375701382
Oct 20, 2010
| ISBN 9780307766984
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May 02, 2000 | ISBN 9780375701382
Oct 20, 2010 | ISBN 9780307766984
"Original, provocative and possibly prophetic."– The New York Times When his classic Within the Context of No Context was first published, George W. S. Trow parsed television’s overwhelming dominance over America’s consciousness. In My Pilgrim’s Progress, he returns with a provocative tour of politics and the media to show "how 1950 got to be 1998." The son of a tabloid journalist, Trow was raised in the "Deepest Roosevelt Aesthetic," and found himself seduced by the ordinaryness of the Eisenhower era. It was a time when the Old World was giving way to the New. Perusing The New York Times of February 1950, he gives us America at the peak of its power, with its politicians and celebrities (and the nearly hesitant advent of television) and the fresh terror of the H-bomb. At turns a cultural history, a eulogy, and a provocative commentary on contemporary America, My Pilgrim’s Progress confirms Trow’s place as one of our most brilliant and incisive social critics.
In My Pilgrim’s Progress, George W. S. Trow gives us a brilliantly original and provocative look at what’s happened to America in our time — a guided tour of the media, the politics, and the personalities of the last half-century by one of our most persuasive social critics. This new book by the author of Within the Context of No Context might be subtitled "A son of Roosevelt reads newspapers, goes to the movies, watches television, and tells us how 1950 got to be 1998." Trow takes 1950 as the year the Old World gave way to the New: Winston Churchill had just been named The Man of the Half-Century by Time magazine; George Bernard Shaw was still alive, and so was William Randolph Hearst. But before the next half-decade was out, the world represented by these powerful old men had disappeared. To illustrate his points, Trow takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride through the New York Times of February 1950, from the thundering front pages where the terror of the H-bomb is making its first appearance to the early, sketchy, amateur television listings. He finds a piece of Television Personality Reportage in the paper — a kind of proto-People magazine profile — of the TV "hostess" and "guest" Faye Emerson, and notes: "As to World War II, the Germans lost, and Faye Emerson won."The son of a tabloid journalist from an old New York brownstone family, Trow was brought up in the Deepest Roosevelt Aesthetic — half FDR and half Walter Winchell. But he soon succumbed to the spell of Dwight David Eisenhower and the extraordinary/ordinary qualities of Ike’s era. It is the thrust of Trow’s book that both the Roosevelt authority and the Ike decencies are completely gone — and where are they now that we need them more than ever?
George W. S. Trow lives in Columbia Country, New York and Texas.
"As good as anything written about our journey out of the ’50s." —Los Angeles Times Book Review
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