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From Dead Ends to Cold Warriors: Constructing American Boyhood in Postwar Hollywood Films
by Peter W.Y. Lee
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Paper: 978-1-9788-1346-5 | Cloth: 978-1-9788-1347-2 | eISBN: 978-1-9788-1348-9
Library of Congress Classification PN1995.9.B74L44 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 791.43653

After World War II, studies examining youth culture on the silver screen start with James Dean. But the angst that Dean symbolized—anxieties over parents, the “Establishment,” and the expectations of future citizen-soldiers—long predated Rebels without a Cause. Historians have largely overlooked how the Great Depression and World War II impacted and shaped the Cold War, and youth contributed to the national ideologies of family and freedom. From Dead Ends to Cold Warriors explores this gap by connecting facets of boyhood as represented in American film from the 1930s to the postwar years. From the Andy Hardy series to pictures such as The Search, Intruder in the Dust, and The Gunfighter, boy characters addressed larger concerns over the dysfunctional family unit, militarism, the “race question,” and the international scene as the Korean War began. Navigating the political, social, and economic milieus inside and outside of Hollywood, Peter W.Y. Lee demonstrates that continuities from the 1930s influenced the unique postwar moment, coalescing into anticommunism and the Cold War.

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