A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-10-13
  • Publisher: Perseus Books Group
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Today, the classics written by the proverbial dead white men are cannon fodder in the culture wars, but in the 1950s and 1960s they were a pop culture phenomenon. Beam explores the Great Books mania, in this strangely poignant portrait of America on the threshold of the television age.

Author Biography

Alex Beam is an award-winning columnist for the Boston Globe. His writing has also appeared in the Atlantic, Slate, the New York Times and many other magazines. The author of Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America’s Premier Mental Hospital, and of two novels, he lives in Boston.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
The Headwatersp. 7
The Odd Couplep. 23
The Great Books in the Gray Cityp. 37
Great Books Good for You!p. 57
The Making of the Booksp. 75
Faster, Pussycat! Sell! Sell!p. 95
Second Verse Not the Same as the Firstp. 117
The People of the Bookp. 135
Epictetus at the Cash Register: Chicago and Columbiap. 151
Hard Core: St. John's Collegep. 165
Among the Bookiesp. 181
Dead Books Walkingp. 191
Acknowledgmentsp. 203
The (Randomly Annotated) Great Books of the Western Worldp. 207
Notes on Sourcesp. 223
Indexp. 229
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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