Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"The Fifties" Video Review

I just finished watching "The Fifties" by David Halberstam, which was a TV series produced by The History Channel. For those of you who don't know, I am currently getting a coordinated degree in library science and music history and my area of research is women in rockabilly and the social constructs of the 1950s. I have written two papers already and having not seen this series I was amazed at how closely the the special followed my previous papers on the subject. I have read a few reviews by people who lived during the time that they felt this series concentrated too much on the negative aspects of the time and how it fed into the sixties, but I feel that Halberstam did a great job of stepping back and trying to put the decade into context despite having lived it himself. There is a lot of information assembled into this 8-part (6 tape) series, but I felt each topic was covered sufficiently and gave me enough to research more on my own, if I desired. I plan on acquiring the book that the series was based on as it should delve a bit deeper into each subject.

As far as how the series covered the topic of women, it could have spent a little more time talking about the role of women and how they were used to keep the family unit together to combat "the red scare." I was pleased at how they talked about the boom of consumerism, but again, little was mentioned about how the media would try to manipulate women, who were the major buyers of the time. Also, any mention of music of the time was spent on Elvis Presley, which is an incredibly narrow view of the history of rockabilly and rock n' roll. Some of this is probably due to Halberstam's concentration of major social issues and the fact that he is not a music historian. I am hoping the book covers more of this and I will make sure to follow-up once I have read it.

If you are interested in learning more, you can view reviews and abstracts, as well as available copies, by clicking on the covers below.

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