The Noir Forties: The American People from Victory to Cold War
"The book is at its best when it hews close to Lingeman's enlightening central thesis; he excels at portraying the uncertain postwar mood and the way that films noir were uniquely able to capture that mood. (Even if accidentally: Lingeman explains that the dark lighting and use of smoke and mirrors characteristic of the genre were deployed out of necessity to disguise the cheap props and shabby sets that resulted from wartime’s material shortages.) "Fictional war films seemed phony because they competed with the real war in magazine and newsreels," he writes, "while in the hard-boiled crime films death was more real because it was shown in an unidealized, unheroic way." Many of the violent crime films, like the 1946 classic The Blue Dahlia, featured veterans and reflected the country's conflicting feelings toward the men who'd fought the fight: gratitude, but also guilt over what they had sacrificed, resentment over the claims they were making on society, fear that they were ticking time bombs capable of resorting to the violent acts they'd been trained to commit during wartime."
Don't You Know There's A War On? The American Home Front 1941-1945
How Americans lived, worked and played while the boys were away during World War II. A sharply etched social history of manners, morals and trends during a unique time in American history, when the country pulled together against a common enemy.
Small Town America: A Narrative History 1607-The Present
The role towns played in American history from the earliest Puritan towns through the speculative towns of the Midwest, the Mining camps and cowtowns of the West, along with the small town in American literature and sociology.
Sinclair Lewis: Rebel from Main Street
Readable, sensitive to nuance...A warm tribute to the quarrelsome, interesting iconoclast." — NY Review of Books "The most important reevaluation of Lewis in more than a generation...It will certainly provide a biographical touchstone for new conversations."
Theodore Dreiser: An American Journey
Drawing on hitherto censored letters, interviews with relatives and former mistresses, recently discovered diaries, and much other new material, Richard Lingeman recounts the obstacle-ridden rise of America’s pioneering realist, the only American writer worth comparing to the great Europeans from 1900 through the 1920s, whose fervently seeking life paralleled the triumph and tragedy of the American Dream, which he pondered with massive sympathy and critical insight in Sister Carrie, The Financier, The ‘Genius’ and An American Tragedy.
Double Lives: American Authors' Friendships
From the puritan-pagan connection of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville to the bopping Beat threesome of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, American writers have formed friendships of high intensity, fierce competition and bursts of productivity. The significant pairs in this fascinating work include, Mark Twain and William Dean Howells, Henry James and Edith Wharton, Willa Cather and Sarah Orne Jewett, Theodore Dreiser and H.L. Mencken, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
—Charles Fecher, Chicago Tribune