Skip to main content

The Cultural Front

The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century

Michael Denning


List Price: 65.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (1/4/2011)


As garment workers, longshoremen, autoworkers, sharecroppers and clerks took to the streets, striking and organizing unions in the midst of the Depression, artists, writers and filmmakers joined the insurgent social movement by creating a cultural front. Disney cartoonists walked picket lines, and Billie Holiday sand ‘Strange Fruit’ at the left-wing cabaret, Café Society. Duke Ellington produced a radical musical, Jump for Joy, New York garment workers staged the legendary Broadway revue Pins and Needles, and Orson Welles and his Mercury players took their labor operas and anti-fascist Shakespeare to Hollywood and made Citizen Kane.

A major reassessment of US cultural history, The Cultural Front is a vivid mural of this extraordinary upheaval which reshaped American culture in the twentieth century.

Praise For The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century

“A truly wonderful piece of history.”—Susan Douglas, The Progressive

“An immense achievement ... the most important book yet written on American culture in the age of the CIO.”—Michael Rogin, Journal of American History

“As fresh a synthesis of the distinctive culture of the 1930s and 1940s as you are likely to find anywhere.”—Christopher Benfey, Times Literary Supplement

“One of the 25 best books of 1997.”—Voice Literary Supplement

Verso, 9781859848159, 576pp.

Publication Date: February 17, 1997

About the Author

Michael Denning teaches American Studies at Yale University. He is the author of "Mechanic Accents," "Cover Stories," "Culture in the Age of Three Worlds," and "The Cultural Front."