AUTHORScott, Alison M. / Geist, Christopher D., Eds.
TITLEThe Writing on the Cloud: American Culture Confronts the Atomic Bomb
PUBLISHERUniversity Press of America
CITYNew York, NY

This book is composed of 13 essays, and keynote addresses by Edward Teller and Robert Lifton. The collection expresses the impact of the pax Americana and its images of looming mushroom clouds on American life. Several of the essays assess changes in popular culture as a reflection of apocalyptic fear. An essay on parenting evaluates how the atomic bomb changed American attitudes about childhood and parenting. In “Suicide in an Installment Plan”, John Stock illustrates the inherent conflict of consumerism and civil defense. Three essays focus on response of high art to the bomb, including a decline in the modernist aesthetic, changes in abstract impressionist painting, and writing poetry as social activism. The remaining essays treat other cultural forms of expression. Rock and roll is analyzed as an alternative, and an accepting force, of the bomb. Helen Schwartz describes the modes of parental communication to children about world issues focusing on toys in “Tales Told by Godzilla and Rodan”.

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