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Palgrave Macmillan

America in the British Imagination

1945 to the Present

ISBN 9781137376800
Publication Date December 2013
Formats Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) Paperback Hardcover 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

This lively and engaging cultural history explores a series of interrelated questions about the U.S.'s influence on British society in the years following World War II. How was American culture disseminated into Britain? Why did large sections of British society embrace American customs? What picture did British citizens form of American society and politics? And how did the Cold War's end and the September 11 attacks affect that picture? Here, author John F. Lyons draws on cinema, literature, contemporary journalism, unpublished oral interviews, and a host of other sources to explore not only the ways in which American society impacted Britain, but the ways in which America's complex identity was refracted in the minds of the citizens of its closest ally.

John F. Lyons is Professor of History at Joliet Junior College, USA. His previous books include Teachers and Reform: Chicago Public Education, 1929-70 (2008) and Teaching History Online (2009).

1. The Architect of Modern Britain: The Influence of the United States on Britain, 1945 to 1963
2. Terra Incognita: The United States in the British Imagination, 1945 to 1963
3. The British Working Class and the U.S.A., 1963-1979
4. The United States and the Politics of Thatcherism, 1979 to 1990
5. Culture Wars, 1990 to 2001
6. September 11 and After: From Hostility to Indifference, 2001-2013


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"Lyons presents a sweeping analysis of the impact of American culture on British society. Denim Jeans, James Dean, Bowling Alleys, Elvis Presley, Henry Ford, Hamburgers, Soul Music, and Ronald Reagan are all here in a sophisticated synthesis of the ways in which individuals, products, trends, images, myths and dreams shaped the identities of a diverse range of British icons from the Beatles to Margaret Thatcher." - Keith Gildart, Professor of Labour and Social History, University of Wolverhampton, UK and author of Images of England through Popular Music: Class, Youth and Rock 'n' Roll, 1955-1976 (2013)
"Lyons offers us a genuinely original, important, and broad-ranging look at the impact of the United States on postwar Great Britain. How America influenced Britain in the realms of economics, culture, foreign policy, and politics is one of his tasks; how different groups of Britons – conservatives, left-wingers, intellectuals, and ordinary people, among others - responded to that influence over time is the other. Drawing on innumerable voices across the political and demographic spectrum, Lyons has produced a book on British hostility, admiration, and ambivalence toward American power, society, and influence that is a sophisticated, engaging, and highly readable." - Eric Arnesen, Professor of History, The George Washington University, USA"Why is David Bowie 'Bowie'? Or Ring 'Ringo'? All this and more we learn from John Lyons's witty survey of the US cultural bombardment of Britain since VJ Day. The romp includes McDonald's, Elvis, Dallas, Oprah—even Milton Friedman. En route to a shrewd analysis of globalization's impact on the Tight Little Island, Lyons astutely and wittily depicts US cultural influences and Britain's never-passive reception of them." - Richard Fried, author of The Russians are Coming! (1999)
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