Compelling, wide-ranging, and hugely ambitious, this book offers an integrated history of the culture produced and consumed by Europeans since 1800, and follows its transformation from an elite activity to a mass market—from lending libraries to the internet, from the first public concerts to music downloads. In itself a cultural tour de force, the book covers high and low culture, readers and writers, audiences and prima donnas, Rossini and hip hop, Verdi and the Beatles, Zola and Tintin, Walter Scott and Jules Verne, the serialized novel of the 19th century as well as Dallas and Coronation Street. Included in its vast scope are fairy tales, best-sellers, crime and sci-fi, non-fiction, magazines, newspapers, comic strips, plays, opera, musicals, pop music, sound recording, films, documentaries, radio, and television. A continent-wide survey, this majestic work includes discussions of rock music under communism, Polish and Danish bestsellers, French melodramas and German cabarets, fascist and Soviet cinema. It examines the ways culture travels—how it is produced, transformed, adapted, absorbed, sold, and consumed; how it is shaped by audiences and politics, and controlled by laws and conventional morality; and why some countries excel in particular genres. It examines the anxiety and attraction felt by Europeans towards American culture, and asks to what extent European culture has become Americanized. Stylishly written, devoid of jargon, this is global non-fiction narrative at its best.
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Donald Sassoon is the author of The Culture of the Europeans, Mona Lisa, and One Hundred Years of Socialism.Review:
'Unique and encyclopedic!a monument to streetwise and cosmopolitan scholarship.' Guardian 'An absorbing, illuminating and enjoyable book!anyone with an interest in the development of culture!will find it interesting, informative and surprisingly entertaining. It is also packed with good sense.' Daily Telegraph 'Never less than penetrating in his comments!this!book shows how British historians such as Sassoon!now occupy the commanding heights of comparative European history and analysis.' Financial Times 'Donald Sassoon has to be congratulated for his immense ambition!it is full of dense detail and he has mastered a considerable body of evidence.' Spectator 'Remarkable!not one of the 62 chapters fails to deliver something new or unexpected!the most effective passages are those in which insight, contextualisation and evidence combine!Sassoon has a sharp eye for the revealing detail, anecdote or individual!"The Culture of the Europeans" which in terms of facts per page is surely the most fact-heavy history of the last two centuries ever written' Independent on Sunday 'There is much in Sassoon's book that it useful and interesting. For anyone who wants to do serious work on these areas, it can serve as an invluable reference guide.' The Independent '"The Culture of the Europeans" is very good indeed!a collection of self-contained essays which can be dipped into for pleasure and information alike!Donald Sassoon's style is conversational, erudite, readable and well-crafted to the very last word.' Literary Review 'Sassoon writes with marvellous fluency throughout!he has a keen eye for the pointed comparison.' THES
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