Your favorite local bookstore.
Everywhere.

Sign up for our mailing list and save! JOIN THE LIST
Balancing Acts

Balancing Acts: American Thought And Culture In The 1930s


The 1930s were a time of ongoing transitions and severe shocks, marked by the Great Depression, the New Deal, rising fears of fascism and totalitarianism, and the darkening clouds of war. The continuing modern evolution of mind-sets, media, and mores became intertwined in the thirties with efforts to develop a radical social thought, with renewed desires for permanent truths, and with recurrent debates over the nature of American values. Rather than rushing toward single-minded solutions, Americans more often favored "balancing acts" that blurred distinctions between old and new and deepened the search for a coherent national identity in the face of daunting challenges. In Balancing Acts: American Thought and Culture in the 1930s, Terry A. Cooney investigates the contradictions and tensions that marked the decade and effected earnest contemplation in a nation struggling to understand and shape its identity and development. He reveals a society battling to preserve and to escape tradition; exploring reconstructions of itself while seeking to safeguard valued liberties; and reaching toward national cohesiveness while embracing a more diverse and complex culture.The desire to move in all directions at once, simultaneously to live with and to resolve contradictions, appeared in the most sweeping public spheres and in the intimacy of nuclear families. Cooney examines the attitudes and ideas of intellectuals, the values and perceptions of ordinary citizens, and the directions of popular culture. He considers the attractions and limitations of radical ideas for prominent thinkers including Edmund Wilson, John Dewey, Sidney Hook, and Reinhold Niebuhr; for proletarian writers including Mike Gold, Robert Cantwell, and Jack Conroy; and for the Partisan Review circle. Cooney looks at streamlining in design and architecture as an expression of values, and at "success books," advertising, movies, and radio. He discusses changing ideas about the nation and its make-up, intellectual shifts such as the anthropological redefinition of culture, New Deal policy toward Native Americans, and the dilemmas of activism among African Americans. Cooney considers the surge of social reporting during the 1930s and connects FERA investigators like Lorena Hickok and photographers like Margaret Bourke-White and Dorothea Lange with competing ideas about the worthiness of the poor and with evolving national myths. Finally, he looks at the debate over democracy surrounding the coming of World War II and locates the roots of the debate in shifting ideas about political and cultural order. Cooney suggests that people at many cultural levels, whether academic thinkers, popular writers, creators of mass culture, artists, workers or consumers, attempted in their own ways to balance the claims of individuality and self-reliance against the needs of community and system, calls for change against an attachment to continuities, and deep uncertainties against attempts at creative response.Cooney manages a graceful balancing act of his own as he analyzes issues of deep importance in an accessible and engaging style. In his sensitive examination of fundamental questions about diversity and heterogeneity in American life, he introduces a wealth of examples and illustrations ranging from gangster movies and Gershwin to political reform and formal thought. His clear and informed style, coupled with a novel and compelling interpretation, makes Balancing Acts a lively narrative not only for ardent historians but for any enthusiastic reader.



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Twayne Pub
  • ISBN-13: 9780805790603
  • ISBN: 0805790608
  • Publication Year: 1995
HPB pick - Out of stock
Loading...
Loading marketplace...
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
×