.. e. The last section of the book, Managing a Dream Culture, was a lot about the accomplishment of stabilizing capitalism in the US. This is where the nitty gritty of it all came out. The first chapter of it, was completely about how the booming businesses were handled and who handled them.
The loans and credit businesses were also hot and so were problems with them. People were cheaply taking advantage of things like return policies (much like they do even now), doing things like returning whole sets of furniture after using them solely for a single wedding (p301). Another thing that came up again was the aesthetics of the marketing and of the stores themselves. Elegance was very popular and accessories were big, especially around Christmas time. Christmas time in the big New York department stores was (and is still) a really big deal, it’s actually one of the real reasons that there are toy departments at all.
One of these chapters also went through how the whole Santa at the mall thing came about, in the early 1900s. It was all about marketing and making money, and due to it the popularity of Christmas and Santa sky rocketed. There wasn’t any way of getting away from the holidays and there still isn’t. The final chapter, tells a how lot about Herbert Hoover and what he did to guide the last parts of the transition. Herbert Hoover was a major architect of change (p352) and Leach found him as a good man when it came to pushing for the consumption system.
He did a number of things including strengthening the institutional structure and helping enable the environment for economical development. This was another small part about who and what handled the new system of capitalism in our country. And then finally there is the section, Legacies, it pretty much tells you how Leach thinks individual things that went on permanently changed society for us today. And that the stuff that went on from 1880-1930 really made a permanent difference, for the most part improvements, to our business and marketing systems of today. America strives on this market and without it, we would lose a big piece of our American heritage.
Besides, however flawed, the capitalist concept of self, the consumer concept of the self, it is a reigning American concept (p386) and it is in this system that there is the freedom of self expression and self fulfillment in a market with no boundaries. This is a really well set up book, I think. The way Leach organized everything in the different sections and then in chapters makes it very easy to follow the history of capitalism. Although, sometimes it seems as though he went a little far in explaining certain ideals, as well as exaggerating the importance of some things. Overall though, it was very well done and after the Prologue, it is a really interesting book.
Some of the conclusions that were drawn throughout the book were obviously biased. Although most of the book is very informative without a strong bias, at certain points you could very well see if or if not Leach agreed with a certain quote or idea. You could also tell where his interests laid, specifically when he spoke about literature. You heard a lot about Baum and poeple that were connected with him, but other than that, no other authors were discussed other than Porter, who had many similar ideals to Baum’s. Another thing that was discussed a lot was religion, so I think that Leach has a strong connection to religion, too. He always wanted to make it a part of the topic being discussed, whether it was relevant or not, it sometimes seemed.
Other than those two things and Leach wrote quite impartially and stuck to the facts very well. As far as contradicting or supporting information I had already attained on this topic, I would have to say that if anything, he agrees with it and added some. He expanded on many topics a lot more heavily than we ever discussed or read about in class. It did parallel some of the things that we learned such as how capitalism came up and why it was so popular with the public. I think it gives some very good information on those things, as well as how the new system affected the growing country.
It gives the perspectives of not only Leach but of other historians through quotes and ideals in general. Leach used a number of sources to create the point of view that he has, and he shared those things so as to help us form an opinion as well. I find it a fairly valuable book to my education because despite the fact that it went almost overboard with some of the information, it still defined the topic really well. It shed light on a lot of things that are normally not as deliberated. Throughout the book, many conclusions and generalizations were made. Many of which were well-informed, however, at the same time a few of them were discreetly biased.
He made some assumptions and said some things that may not be agreed with by everyone. This sort of limited what he could teach and at the same time, gave some outlooks that other historians could not have given because they didn’t care about the topics as much as he. Religion and Literature are good examples of that, Leach’s attachment to those two things reflected in the way that he talked about them. This sometimes may have blind folded him when it came to other topics that didn’t hold such a strong feeling for but certainly helped out with those that he did. I thought that the book was, in fact, very interesting and I learned a lot from it.
I understand exactly what went on and why when it came to the consumer market switching into a capitalist gear. He didn’t leave very much unclear and his explanations for things were very well thought out. The fact that he talked about maybe a little more than he needed to get his point across was both a blessing and a curse in that you learned and understood more, but occasionally it just seemed to complicate things. He obviously has an extremely deep knowledge about this topic and perhaps that’s maybe why he wrote a book about it (duh), but over all, I think it is a very good book that was written with even the least informed reader in mind. Leach made it so that anyone, whether you knew a lot about the subject or not, could understand what went on and why. Any ideas that needed to maybe be explained to the commoner were explained and it was very helpful in understanding the book.
I appreciated that a lot, but I am not the most learned person and I don’t know a whole lot on this subject or it’s background. American History.