Jazz, Rock, and Rebels: Cold War Politics and American Culture in a Divided Germany
In the two decades after World War II, Germans on both sides of the iron curtain fought vehemently over American cultural imports. Uta G. Poiger traces how westerns, jeans, jazz, rock 'n' roll, and stars like Marlon Brando or Elvis Presley reached adolescents in both Germanies, who eagerly adopted the new styles. Poiger reveals that East and West German authorities deployed gender and racial norms to contain Americanized youth cultures in their own territories and to carry on the ideological Cold War battle with each other. Poiger's lively account is based on an impressive array of sources, ranging from films, newspapers, and contemporary sociological studies, to German and U.S. archival materials. Jazz, Rock, and Rebels examines diverging responses to American culture in East and West Germany by linking these to changes in social science research, political cultures, state institutions, and international alliance systems. In the first two decades of the Cold War, consumer culture became a way to delineate the boundaries between East and West. This pathbreaking study, the first comparative cultural history of the two Germanies, sheds new light on the legacy of Weimar and National Socialism, on gender and race relations in Europe, and on Americanization and the Cold War.
Rethinking Cultural Imperialism
By A Customer - July 9, 2000
This book is an innovative study of the impact of American culture on both East and West Germany in the 1950s and early 60s. It is highly readable and always interesting, tracing the cultural and political impact of jazz, rock-n-roll, and American "rebel" movies like the Wild One or Rebel Without a Cause. The book looks at the reactions of state officials and experts, who vacillated between decrying the American imports as imperial "un-culture" and trying to appropriate them as resources for the cold war conflict between East and West. Perhaps more importantly, it also examines the reactions of the young fans, who used these American cultural products to stage their own rebellions against state authority and official norms. Always attentive to issues of race and gender, subtle and yet clear, this is a great analysis that goes well beyond the usual terms of the debate about cultural imperialism.
Interesting Interpretation of Cold War Culture in East/West Blocs
By Roy E. Cloudburst - June 27, 2006
Breaking new historical ground, Uta Poiger explores the American cultural mediums that influenced Post-War East and West Germany in Jazz, Rock and Rebels: Cold War Politics and American Culture in a Divided Germany. Insightful and exhaustively researched, Poiger links the divided German states by a "discourse" bridge which seeks to manipulate American cultural influences to German prerogatives. The work is topically arraigned into five chapters, which collectively, link the popular culture of America in the 1950's to social injustices such as fascism and racism. Jazz music, for instance, was articulately utilized by the author to illustrate subtle differences and evolutions by the two Germanys. Initially, there was a social rejection of American Jazz music in the German states. According to Poiger, they "invoked antiblack . . . sentiments" as a method of reducing U.S. legitimacy. Over time, as Poiger noted, this stigma for jazz evaporated and became more of an accepted norm... read more
By S. Schmidt-Joos "ssj" - March 18, 2009
To say it with the words of the late comedienne, Gilda Radner ("Tiny Kingdom"): "This is a wonderful book!" It informs completely about all facets of jazz and rock in Cold War Germany and keeps many a surprise. It contains expressive photographs as well as funny caricatures and is well written. This is a book that swings and rocks.
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