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Land of Desire by William R. Leach
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Land of Desire

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Land of Desire by William R. Leach
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Sep 06, 1994 | ISBN 9780679754114

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    Sep 06, 1994 | ISBN 9780679754114

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“An extraordinary work of history, imaginatively conceived, thoroughly researched and absorbingly written. William Leach allows us to see the production of mass consumer culture and to see it whole, in its richness and its poverty. It is a fascinating and troubling tale, and Leach tells it with exceptional skill and sensitivity.” –Jean-Christophe Agnew, Yale University

“A major reinterpretation of our cultural experience, Land of Desire is a brilliant, evocative, and highly readable study by an original, honest and courageous historian who has seen to the heart of American commercial culture. In a society in debt to the licentious 1980s and unfortunately still attempting to achieve social justice though endless growth, this is required reading.”–Mary O. Furner, University of California, Santa Barbara


National Book Awards FINALIST 1993

Table Of Contents

Introduction: The Land of Desire and the Culture of Consumer Capitalism
I: Strategies of Enticement
1. The Dawn of a Commercial Empire
“The Master Institutions of Civilized Life” • From Marble Palaces to Masses of Goods and Capital • The Retail Wars of the 1890s • “The Greatest Merchant in America” • The Crisis of Distribution
2. Facades of Color, Glass, and Light
Elbert Hubbard and Eye Appeal • Signs of the Times • The Careers of Robert Ogden and Maxfield Parrish • L. Frank Baum and TheShowWindow • A Maze of Glittering Crystal • Form out of Chaos • Arthur Fraser’s Temple
3. Interiors
Dismantling Doorsteps and the New Intimacy with Goods • “The Stage upon Which the Play Is Enacted” • Seductions for the Masses and the Classes • The “Eliminating” Power of the Central Idea • A New Child World and “Paradise in the Toy Department”
4. Fashion and the Indispensable Thing
The Growth of Fashion and a Gigantic Garment Industry • Women Buyers and the “Queens” of Paris Couture • Rodman Wanamaker and the Queen’s Slippers • Fete de Paris: The Fashion Show • The Garden of Allah
5. Ali Baba’s Lamp: Service for Private and Public Benefit
Service as a “Profitless Ideal” • Holiness or Commercial Hospitality
• “Maximum Max” and Paying the Price in Court •
Customer as Guest in “Self-Sufficient Citadels” • “Distributors
of Happiness” • Gemutlichkeit and the Utopia of Joseph Urban
• A New Commercial Cultural Order
II: Circuits of Power
6. “Business Runs the World”: Institutional Coalitions Behind the New Order
“Searching Out” and Satisfying “Human Wants” • The Great
Museums and the New Curators • City Pageants and Hobnobbing
with Mayors • The Widening Sphere of Public Action •
Better Babies and Better Deliveries • The Paterson Pageant
7. Wanamaker’s Simple Life and the Moral Failure of Established Religion
Wanamaker as Liberal Evangelist and Institution Builder • The
Simple Life and Pastor Wagner • A Day at Bethany • Fairy
Tales or Private Parables • Sin, Consensus, and Institution
Building • Down the Slippery Slope
8. Mind Cure and the Happiness Machine
“The New Healers” • Simon Patten’s Political Economy of
Mind Cure • Pollyanna and the Popular Culture of Mind Cure
• L. Frank Baum and Theosophy • An Affirmative American
Fairy Tale
III: Managing a Dream Culture:1922-1932
9. “An Age of Consolidation”: Goods, Money, and Mergermania
“Consumptionism” • Goods and Money “Flooding the Country”.
Chains Across the Country • Investment Bankers and
Mergermania • “The Power Is All in Business”: Chains of Department
Stores • Paul Mazur and Harvard’s Helping Hand
• The Urban Landscape of Desire
10. “Sell Them Their Dreams”
The Consumer Credit Apparatus • Air-Conditioned Murals and
“One White Fur” • “Brokers in Beauty” • In Style with
Dorothy Shaver • Accessorizing on the Grand Scale • The
Pseudoevents of Edward L. Bernays
11. The Spectacles
The Rainbow House and the Palace of Fashion • The Commercial
Parade • Toys, Spectacles, and the Child Experts •
Ragamuffins and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade • America’s
Mecca of Light and Color • “All the Colours of the Rainbow
Belong to Mr. Bilge”
12. Herbert Hoover’s Emerald City and Managerial Government
Herbert Hoover’s Pursuit of Knowledge • Commerce as Database
and Julius Klein, Master Broker • “Horne, Sweet Home”
• Dissent and the “Torments of Desire”
Conclusion: Legacies

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