Review by Choice Review
Business historian Norris (Northern Illinois University) analyzes the transformation of the US to national markets and a consumption society, a transformation he attributes primarily to economic abundance and advertising. The author stresses magazine advertising and the change from product-oriented to consumer-oriented advertising which was designed to create rather than just fill demand. He traces the marketing of important products from patent medicines and sewing machines to soaps and cosmetics. The author concludes that sodas, cigarettes, and automobiles made advertising (and consumption) "come of age" by 1920. Chapter titles--"Any Fool Can Make Soap," "Leisure Time for Ladies," "I'd Walk a Mile for a Camel"--suggest his approach and integration of specific issues with general conditions and offers a useful description of this changing society, from rural and local and relatively restricted to urban and abundant. Norris draws interesting conclusions about advertisements and their impact on American society. Heavily footnoted, extensive bibliography, limited index. Illustrations of advertisements and tables of data for the period. More focused than Stuart Ewen, Captains of Consciousness (1976). College and public library collections. -A. E. Pierce, Lafayette College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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