A Consumers' Republic
The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America
By Lizabeth Cohen
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375707377, 576pp.)
Publication Date: December 30, 2003
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Trumpeted as a means to promote the general welfare, mass consumption quickly outgrew its economic objectives and became synonymous with patriotism, social equality, and the American Dream. Material goods came to embody the promise of America, and the power of consumers to purchase everything from vacuum cleaners to convertibles gave rise to the power of citizens to purchase political influence and effect social change. Yet despite undeniable successes and unprecedented affluence, mass consumption also fostered economic inequality and the fracturing of society along gender, class, and racial lines. In charting the complex legacy of our Consumers Republic Lizabeth Cohen has written a bold, encompassing, and profoundly influential book.