Jane & Michael Stern's Encyclopedia of Pop Culture: An A to Z Guide to Who's Who and What's What, from Aerobics and Bubble Gum to Valley of the Dolls

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9780060553432: Jane & Michael Stern's Encyclopedia of Pop Culture: An A to Z Guide to Who's Who and What's What, from Aerobics and Bubble Gum to Valley of the Dolls
From Publishers Weekly:

America's pop culture mavens present an entertaining if arbitrary compendium of more than 200 people, objects and phenomena that have entered the collective consciousness since WW II. As with their Encyclopedia of Bad Taste, the Sterns' entries here are sprightly but substantial: they delineate the differences between Oprah! and Geraldo , note that regional tastes predominate in hot dogs but not in hamburgers, and offer conflicting explanations of the murky lyrics to "Louie, Louie." However, the Sterns' ambitious title may frustrate those readers who seek a more comprehensive work. First, the book is skewed toward older baby-boomers (for example, there's an entry on Mickey Mantle but none on Michael Jordan). Second, its entries on ephemeral figures like fat man Walter Hudson and "Where's the Beef?" huckster Clara Peller seem better suited to the authors' previous encyclopedia. And the Sterns' choices are debatable: the microwave oven but not the Walkman? The Beach Boys but not Led Zeppelin? "Peanuts" but not "Doonesbury"? Still, for anyone who wants to remember pet rocks, pop rocks and pop-tarts--and many more cultural artifacts--this volume is eminently browse-able. Photos. $80,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

The Sterns, both cultural anthropologists, have assembled a captivating if somewhat uneven encyclopedia of pop culture, a term that they refer to as "America's Mythology." The alphabetical entries, which vary in length, are informative, frequently humorous, and thought-provoking, and occasionally employ crudity and irreverence. The entries include things so common as to be second nature (e.g., American Bandstand , deodorant, and McDonalds). Some questionable subjects are also present (e.g., Crazy Eddie and automatic toilet bowl cleaner). While it is fascinating to learn that James Brown was born dead and that we have Harley Earl to thank for Fig Newtons and roll-on deodorant, where are Automatic Tellers, ESPN, and CNN? As a coffee-table book this volume is delightful, but its value as a reference tool is questionable. (Index not seen.)--Sherle Abramson, Williamsburg Regional Lib., Va.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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