Catalogue


Playboy and the making of the good life in modern America /
Elizabeth Fraterrigo.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2009.
description
vii, 295 p.
ISBN
0195386108 (acid-free paper), 9780195386103 (acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2009.
isbn
0195386108 (acid-free paper)
9780195386103 (acid-free paper)
contents note
'We aren't a family magazine': sex, gender, and the family ideal in postwar America -- 'Work hard and play hard, too': modern living and the morality of the Playboy life -- Pads and penthouses: Playboy's urban answer to suburbanization -- The ideal (play)mate: gender, work, and the single girl -- 'For us it is the good life': the ascendant Playboy life -- 'Casualties of the lifestyle revolution': Playboy, the permissive society and women's liberation.
catalogue key
6977087
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2009-12-01:
As an arbiter of sophisticated consumption, urban living, and sexual pleasure, Hugh M. Hefner's iconoclastic men's magazine has influenced American society for more than 50 years. With insightful observations and extensive research, Fraterrigo (history, Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas) deconstructs the historical and sociological context of the magazine and its creator. She shows how Playboy, which was founded in 1953, reflected Hefner's and men's interest in obtaining "The Good Life" a la James Bond or the Rat Pack. The magazine's well-respected editorial content and controversial pictorial material, including the famous "Playboy Interview" and the "Playboy Playmate Centerfold," were a marked break from traditional men's lifestyle and general-interest magazines of conservative, family-oriented postwar society, emphasizing instead individualism, singles-oriented entertainment and consumerism, and prolonged bachelorhood. Fraterrigo further discusses how this seminal publication affected gender roles, shaped attitudes toward sex, and influenced movies, television, and literature. VERDICT This fascinating, scholarly portrait of the life and times of Hefner and his magazine holds appeal for readers interested in American culture, media studies, contemporary biographies, and the Mad Men era.-Donna Marie Smith, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2010-05-01:
Being a cultural historian often means listening and reading as a linguist, and Fraterrigo (history, Loyola Univ., Chicago) demonstrates a sound ear for terminological nuance in her critical account of the rise of Playboy magazine from its inception in 1953. Particularly interesting is the link she makes between the sociological and economic implications of the term "single girl." This connection permits her to deliver a serious analytic consideration of the gendered development of the modern office as represented in what she characterizes as a groundbreaking media experiment. This is not just media criticism. It is interdisciplinary history within economic, sociological, ethical, and historical contexts. Well documented with extensive notes and a full if selective bibliography, this volume is likely to be the definitive study of the phenomenon and implications of Playboy for some time. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. C. A. Riley Baruch College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Don't expect backstairs gossip...[Fraterrigo] devotes herself to the chicken-and-egg question of how much Playboy shaped mid-century American mores and consumer taste and how much it reflected the profound changes that convulsed the country as it emerged from nearly 30 years of Depression and war...it's entertaining." --Wall Street Journal "With keen insight into Playboy's tensions with feminists as well as moralists, Elizabeth Fraterrigo explores how Playboy promoted a bachelor lifestyle marked by consumerism and easy sex in rebellion against post-World War II domesticity, and how that lifestyle came to embody mainstream ideas of individualism and the 'good life.' A lively and engaging book."--Elaine Tyler May, author of Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era "This insightful book demonstrates that in its heyday Playboy magazine, rather than offering its readers a grand escape from the exigencies of adult life, proffered a vision of manhood that was both problematically and quintessentially American. Fraterrigo is particularly good at showing how the playboy, who mirrored Hefner's own dissatisfactions in fascinating ways, ultimately translated a male desire to run into a framework for sexual and intellectual engagement, gendered social status, and perhaps most importantly, unbridled consumer participation."--Jennifer Scanlon, author of Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown "In this nuanced and compelling book, Elizabeth Fraterrigo reveals the worlds Playboy created and reflected in post-World War II United States. She uses Playboy as a window to explore battles over gender, family, and individualism, as well as the reconfiguration of social spaces in America and the development of a morality connected to the pleasures of sex and consumer culture."--Daniel Horowitz, author of The Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939-1979
"Fraterrigo asks us to accept a somewhat unlikely premise, [but] one closes her book largely convinced that she is right...Her research is phenomenally thorough and her conclusions are bold." --The New Republic "Enlightening...the author takes Hefner seriously as a transformative cultural figure, a man who not only understood the times in which he lived but fought successfully to change their direction [and] demonstrates how successful Hefner was at packaging an attitude, a mindset, a philosophy--and one that ran counter to the superficial tenets of the era...Fraterrigo's book chronicles with thoroughness and exactitude." --Chicago Tribune "With insightful observations and extensive research, Fraterrigo deconstructs the historical and sociological context of the magazine and its creator...This fascinating, scholarly portrait of the life and times of Hefner and his magazine holds appeal for readers interested in American culture, media studies, contemporary biographies, and the 'Mad Men' era." --Library Journal "Don't expect backstairs gossip...[Fraterrigo] devotes herself to the chicken-and-egg question of how much Playboy shaped mid-century American mores and consumer taste and how much it reflected the profound changes that convulsed the country as it emerged from nearly 30 years of Depression and war...it's entertaining." --Wall Street Journal "A confession: I've never paged through an issue ofPlayboy,whether by dint of my sex or age. So it's to Elizabeth Fraterrigo's credit that she managed...to interest me for 216 pages in 'a titty magazine that has been culturally irrelevant since the late 1970s.'" --DoubleX "With keen insight intoPlayboy'stensions with feminists as well as moralists, Elizabeth Fraterrigo explores howPlayboypromoted a bachelor lifestyle marked by consumerism and easy sex in rebellion against post-World War II domesticity, and how that lifestyle came to embody mainstream ideas of individualism and the 'good life.' A lively and engaging book."--Elaine Tyler May, author ofHomeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era "This insightful book demonstrates that in its heydayPlayboymagazine, rather than offering its readers a grand escape from the exigencies of adult life, proffered a vision of manhood that was both problematically and quintessentially American. Fraterrigo is particularly good at showing how the playboy, who mirrored Hefner's own dissatisfactions in fascinating ways, ultimately translated a male desire to run into a framework for sexual and intellectual engagement, gendered social status, and perhaps most importantly, unbridled consumer participation."--Jennifer Scanlon, author ofBad GirlsGo Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown "In this nuanced and compelling book, Elizabeth Fraterrigo reveals the worldsPlayboycreated and reflected in post-World War II United States. She usesPlayboyas a window to explore battles over gender, family, and individualism, as well as the reconfiguration of social spaces in America and the development of a morality connected to the pleasures of sex and consumer culture."--Daniel Horowitz, author ofThe Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939-1979
"Fraterrigo asks us to accept a somewhat unlikely premise, [but] one closes her book largely convinced that she is right...Her research is phenomenally thorough and her conclusions are bold." -- The New Republic "Enlightening...the author takes Hefner seriously as a transformative cultural figure, a man who not only understood the times in which he lived but fought successfully to change their direction [and] demonstrates how successful Hefner was at packaging an attitude, a mindset, a philosophy--and one that ran counter to the superficial tenets of the era...Fraterrigo's book chronicles with thoroughness and exactitude." -- Chicago Tribune "With insightful observations and extensive research, Fraterrigo deconstructs the historical and sociological context of the magazine and its creator...This fascinating, scholarly portrait of the life and times of Hefner and his magazine holds appeal for readers interested in American culture, media studies, contemporary biographies, and the 'Mad Men' era." -- Library Journal "Don't expect backstairs gossip...[Fraterrigo] devotes herself to the chicken-and-egg question of how much Playboy shaped mid-century American mores and consumer taste and how much it reflected the profound changes that convulsed the country as it emerged from nearly 30 years of Depression and war...it's entertaining." -- Wall Street Journal "With keen insight into Playboy's tensions with feminists as well as moralists, Elizabeth Fraterrigo explores how Playboy promoted a bachelor lifestyle marked by consumerism and easy sex in rebellion against post-World War II domesticity, and how that lifestyle came to embody mainstream ideas of individualism and the 'good life.' A lively and engaging book."--Elaine Tyler May, author of Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era "This insightful book demonstrates that in its heyday Playboy magazine, rather than offering its readers a grand escape from the exigencies of adult life, proffered a vision of manhood that was both problematically and quintessentially American. Fraterrigo is particularly good at showing how the playboy, who mirrored Hefner's own dissatisfactions in fascinating ways, ultimately translated a male desire to run into a framework for sexual and intellectual engagement, gendered social status, and perhaps most importantly, unbridled consumer participation."--Jennifer Scanlon, author of Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown "In this nuanced and compelling book, Elizabeth Fraterrigo reveals the worlds Playboy created and reflected in post-World War II United States. She uses Playboy as a window to explore battles over gender, family, and individualism, as well as the reconfiguration of social spaces in America and the development of a morality connected to the pleasures of sex and consumer culture."--Daniel Horowitz, author of The Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939-1979
the book's main strenghts lie in Fraterrigo's analysis of specific episodes in the magazine's history. Her careful research and assessment of its advice on consumption, its take on public and private spaces, and its negotiations with both civil rights and feminism are original and sharply observed
"With insightful observations and extensive research, Fraterrigo deconstructs the historical and sociological context of the magazine and its creator...This fascinating, scholarly portrait of the life and times of Hefner and his magazine holds appeal for readers interested in American culture, media studies, contemporary biographies, and the 'Mad Men' era." --Library Journal "Enlightening...the author takes Hefner seriously as a transformative cultural figure, a man who not only understood the times in which he lived but fought successfully to change their direction [and] demonstrates how successful Hefner was at packaging an attitude, a mindset, a philosophy--and one that ran counter to the superficial tenets of the era...Fraterrigo's book chronicles with thoroughness and exactitude." --Chicago Tribune "Don't expect backstairs gossip...[Fraterrigo] devotes herself to the chicken-and-egg question of how much Playboy shaped mid-century American mores and consumer taste and how much it reflected the profound changes that convulsed the country as it emerged from nearly 30 years of Depression and war...it's entertaining." --Wall Street Journal "With keen insight into Playboy's tensions with feminists as well as moralists, Elizabeth Fraterrigo explores how Playboy promoted a bachelor lifestyle marked by consumerism and easy sex in rebellion against post-World War II domesticity, and how that lifestyle came to embody mainstream ideas of individualism and the 'good life.' A lively and engaging book."--Elaine Tyler May, author of Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era "This insightful book demonstrates that in its heyday Playboy magazine, rather than offering its readers a grand escape from the exigencies of adult life, proffered a vision of manhood that was both problematically and quintessentially American. Fraterrigo is particularly good at showing how the playboy, who mirrored Hefner's own dissatisfactions in fascinating ways, ultimately translated a male desire to run into a framework for sexual and intellectual engagement, gendered social status, and perhaps most importantly, unbridled consumer participation."--Jennifer Scanlon, author of Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown
"With keen insight into Playboy's tensions with feminists as well as moralists, Elizabeth Fraterrigo explores how Playboy promoted a bachelor lifestyle marked by consumerism and easy sex in rebellion against post-World War II domesticity, and how that lifestyle came to embody mainstream ideas of individualism and the 'good life.' A lively and engaging book."--Elaine Tyler May, author of Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era "This insightful book demonstrates that in its heyday Playboy magazine, rather than offering its readers a grand escape from the exigencies of adult life, proffered a vision of manhood that was both problematically and quintessentially American. Fraterrigo is particularly good at showing how the playboy, who mirrored Hefner's own dissatisfactions in fascinating ways, ultimately translated a male desire to run into a framework for sexual and intellectual engagement, gendered social status, and perhaps most importantly, unbridled consumer participation."--Jennifer Scanlon, author of Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown "In this nuanced and compelling book, Elizabeth Fraterrigo reveals the worlds Playboy created and reflected in post-World War II United States. She uses Playboy as a window to explore battles over gender, family, and individualism, as well as the reconfiguration of social spaces in America and the development of a morality connected to the pleasures of sex and consumer culture."--Daniel Horowitz, author of The Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939-1979
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, November 2009
Library Journal, December 2009
New York Times Full Text Review, January 2010
Choice, May 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Playboy was more than a magazine filled with pictures of nude women and advice on how to mix the perfect martini. Indeed, the magazine's vision of sexual liberation, high living, and "the good life" came to define mainstream images of postwar life. In exploring the history of America's most widely read and influential men's magazine, Elizabeth Fraterrigo hones in on the values, style, and gender formulations put forth in its pages and how they gained widespread currency in American culture. She shows that for Hugh Hefner, the "good life" meant the freedom to choose a lifestyle, and the one he promoted was the "playboy life," in which expensive goods and sexually available women were plentiful, obligations were few, and if one worked hard enough, one could enjoy abundant leisure and consumption. In support of this view, Playboy attacked early marriage, traditional gender arrangements, and sanctions against premarital sex, challenging the conservatism of family-centered postwar society. And despite the magazine's ups and downs, significant features of this "playboy life" have become engrained in American society.
Main Description
Playboy was more than a magazine filled with pictures of nude women and advice on how to mix the perfect martini. Indeed, the magazine's vision of sexual liberation, high living, and "the good life" came to define mainstream images of postwar life. In exploring the history of America's mostwidely read and influential men's magazine, Elizabeth Fraterrigo hones in on the values, style, and gender formulations put forth in its pages and how they gained widespread currency in American culture. She shows that for Hugh Hefner, the "good life" meant the freedom to choose a lifestyle, and theone he promoted was the "playboy life," in which expensive goods and sexually available women were plentiful, obligations were few, and if one worked hard enough, one could enjoy abundant leisure and consumption. In support of this view, Playboy attacked early marriage, traditional genderarrangements, and sanctions against premarital sex, challenging the conservatism of family-centered postwar society. And despite the magazine's ups and downs, significant features of this "playboy life" have become engrained in American society.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
"We Aren't a 'Family Magazine'": Sex, Gender, and the Family Ideal in Postwar Americap. 15
"Work Hard and Play Hard, Too": Modern Living and the Morality of the Playboy Lifep. 48
Pads and Penthouses: Playboy's Urban Answer to Suburbanizationp. 80
The Ideal (Play) Mate: Gender, the Workplace, and the Single Girlp. 105
"For Us It Is the Good Life": The Ascendant Playboy Lifep. 134
"Casualties of the Lifestyle Revolution": Playboy, the Permissive Society, and Women's Liberationp. 167
Epilogue: America's Playboy Culturep. 205
Notesp. 217
Selected Bibliographyp. 265
Indexp. 287
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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