Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression

Version: Unabridged
Author: Morris Dickstein
Narrator: Malcolm Hillgartner
Genres: History, North America
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published In: September 2010
# of Units: 19 CDs
Length: 16 hours, 39 minutes
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Hailed as one of the best books of 2009 by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, this vibrant portrait of 1930s culture masterfully explores the anxiety and hope, the despair and surprising optimism of distressed Americans during the Great Depression.

Morris Dickstein, whom Norman Mailer called "one of our best and most distinguished critics of American literature," has brought together a staggering range of material, from epic Dust Bowl migrations to zany screwball comedies, elegant dance musicals, wildly popular swing bands, and streamlined art deco designs. Exploding the myth that Depression culture was merely escapist, Dickstein concentrates on the dynamic energy of the arts and the resulting lift they gave to the nation's morale. A fresh and exhilarating analysis of one of America's most remarkable artistic periods, with Dancing in the Dark Dickstein delivers a monumental critique.

"Dancing in the Dark is a fine, high-minded survey of the decade's cultural history."—New York Times Book Review

Reviews (1)

Written by Christopher Zott on February 25th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Too much like a textbook. Felt like I was in a college lecture class where 30% was important and needed to be written down for an exam. 70% was irrelevant and unimportant. It was mainly a disappointment.

Author Details

Author Details

Dickstein, Morris

Morris Dickstein is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English and Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center and the author of Dancing in the Dark, an award-winning cultural history of the Great Depression, and Why Not Say What Happened, a memoir. He lives in New York City.