Traces the evolution of American popular culture over the past two centuries. In a lengthy chronology of landmark events, and ten chapters, each revolving around the lives of two individuals who are in some way emblematic of their times, this provides a window on the social, economic, and political history of US democracy from the antebellum period to the present.
Introduction; 1. Democratic Showmen: James Gordon Bennett and P. T. Barnum; 2. Exponents of the Culture of Consumption: Marshall Field and Horatio Alger; 3. Stars of Vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley: Lillian Russell and Irving Berlin; 4. The Cinematic Artist and the Literary Lion: D. W. Griffith and Ernest Hemingway; 5. The New Woman and the New Negro: Clara Bow and Bessie Smith; 6. Voices of Radical Culture: Margaret Bourke-White and Woody Guthrie; 7. American Heroes: Hank Greenberg and Edward R. Murrow; 8. American Rebels: Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley; 9. American Icons during a Time of Unrest: John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Muhammad Ali; 10. American Dreamers: Michael Jordan and Jennifer Lopez.