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Red Reckoning: The Cold War and the Transformation of American Life edited by Mark Boulton and Tobias T. Gibson

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The Cold War still casts a long shadow over contemporary American society. It was a transformative era that continues to condition Americans' national anxieties, popular culture, consumer habits, and identity. The essays in Red Reckoning take an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to examine how the great ideological conflict of the twentieth century impacted American society. While historians and political scientists have explored Cold War American culture in numerous monographs on individual subjects, this collection analyzes the myriad ways the conflict forced Americans to reconsider almost every aspect of their society, culture, and identity.

The essays included are lively, engaging, and cover subjects that will interest students and scholars of post-1945 United States History. They should also appeal to readers wishing to understand modern America's political, legal, and cultural foundations. The subjects include the Cold War's impact on the national security state, race relations, gun culture and masculinity, law, college football, advertising, music, film, free speech, religion, and even board games. Contributing scholars include Tony Shaw, the leading scholar on American Cold War movies, and Elaine Tyler May, whose Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (1988) redefined our understanding of Cold War family dynamics. Red Reckoning offers readers an immersion into what it was like to live through the Cold War, revealing a society that was evolving in the ways it consumed media and entertainment and reacted to the infrastructures, cultural mores, and the rise of a national security state necessary to win the conflict.

The first section of the volume explores the Cold War's impact on the legal and structural contours of American life. Section two examines how the Cold War affected identity by forcing Americans to reconsider notions of racial inclusiveness, gender norms, and religiosity. Section three analyzes the production and consumption of popular culture and demonstrates how the conflict transformed movies, literature, music, and sports, making them key components in the ideological battle against communism.

Contributions by Linda Weiss, Ann V. Collins, Kurt W. Jefferson, Eric Kasper, Elaine Tyler May, Peter J. Verovšek, Matt Sprengeler, Mary Beth Chopas, Tony Shaw, Francesco Buscemi, Kurt Edward Kemper, Angela F. Keaton, Charity Rakestraw, Randi Barnes Cox, Simon Stow, and Eunice Rojas.