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Download Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression, by Morris Dickstein Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (173 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Morris Dickstein Narrator: Malcolm Hillgartne Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Hailed as one of the best books of 2009 by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, this vibrant portrait of 1930s culture masterfully explores the anxiety and hope, the despair and surprising optimism of distressed Americans during the Great Depression.

Morris Dickstein, whom Norman Mailer called “one of our best and most distinguished critics of American literature,” has brought together a staggering range of material, from epic Dust Bowl migrations to zany screwball comedies, elegant dance musicals, wildly popular swing bands, and streamlined art deco designs. Exploding the myth that Depression culture was merely escapist, Dickstein concentrates on the dynamic energy of the arts and the resulting lift they gave to the nations morale. A fresh and exhilarating analysis of one of America’s most remarkable artistic periods, Dancing in the Dark is a monumental critique.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Dancing in the Dark is a fine, high-minded survey of the decade’s cultural history.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A smart, ambitious piece of work, the product of prodigious research and careful thought, and those who read it will come away with a clearer understanding of an important but widely misunderstood period in the country’s cultural life.”

    Washington Post

  • “The definitive book about Depression culture for our time.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “An exhaustive and invigorating overview of the films, songs, books, plays, buildings, and design that emerged from America’s darkest economic decade.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “The gloom of the Depression fed a brilliant cultural efflorescence that’s trenchantly explored here…Dickstein’s fluent, erudite, intriguing meditations turn up many resonances…The result is a fascinating portrait of a distant era that still speaks compellingly to our own.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A thrill to read. As a work of cultural history, it’s the equivalent of a Fred and Ginger dance number.”


  • A Los Angeles Times Favorite Book
  • A 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2009 Huffington Post Best Book for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 2010 Ambassador Book Award for American Studies
  • A 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
  • A 2009 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ed | 2/17/2014

    " A very insightful book on a complex time in our history. It is not and easy read, but well worth it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Steve P | 2/6/2014

    " Was expecting more of a popular history but this one reads more like a doctoral dissertation. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Yolanda | 2/4/2014

    " This book needed a good strong editor, or a less pedantic author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Joel | 2/3/2014

    " This book is too small for its breeches, which is to say it is highly repetitious, has an interesting but relatively modest historical perspective, and needed an editor with a weed wacker to cut about 100 pages. The book also creates its own version of the Renaissance problem (when did that Renaissance begin?)by inconsistent framing of its own historical period. "

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About the Author
Author Morris Dickstein

Morris Dickstein is a literary and cultural critic and distinguished professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center and the author of Gates of Eden and Leopards in the Temple, among other works. He lives in New York City.