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A unique volume, Inventing Times Square approaches the subject of twentieth-century American city culture through a multidimensional examination of one quintessential urban space: Times Square. Ranging in time from 1905, when the crossroad was given its present name, through to the current plans for redevelopment, the authors examine Times Square as economic hub, real estate bonanza, entertainment center, advertising medium, architectural experiment, and erotic netherworld. Though the volume centers on Times Square, the essays venture much further into urban history and American social history, revealing in the process how Times Square reflected―even epitomized―America as it became an urban consumer culture.
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William Taylor has taught at Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Chicago, and the State University of New York-Stony Brook. A fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities, he is the author of In Pursuit of Gotham and Cavalier and Yankee.Review:
"A portrait of pre-World War II America in good-natured upheaval, shaking off convention and inventing and reinventing an unpredictable 'commercial culture.'."(New York Times)
"This is a rather astonishing effort―the collective brainpower focused on the subject fairly guarantees that every little corner of the square's history will be illuminated for the reader."(Los Angeles Times)
"The range of topics is enormous, from the strategies of city planners and real estate entrepreneurs to the tactics of cultural resistance employed by homosexuals and by retailers of commercial popular culture."(Journal of American History)
"No other work does so much to put Times Square into historical perspective both as a geographical space―an actual entity―and as a cultural symbol of central importance."(Lawrence W. Levine, author of Highbrow-Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America)
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