American Plastic: A Cultural History

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9780813522357: American Plastic: A Cultural History
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Winner of the 1996 Dexter Prize from the Society for the History of Technology and a 1996 Choice Outstanding Academic Book

“A splendid history of plastic.  The book is authoritative, thorough, interdisciplinary, and intriguing. . . [Meikle] traces the course of plastics from 19th–century celluloid and the fist wholly synthetic bakelite, in 1907, through the proliferation of compounds (vinyls, acrylics, polystyrene, nylon, etc.) and recent ecological concerns. . . .Interested readers of whatever predisposition will likely enjoy this comprehensive and thoughtful treatise.”—Publishers Weekly

“A landmark account. . . . He combines a first–rate technological history with a most impressive cultural analysis of how plastics evolved from a material surrounded by utopian expectations to a material epitomizing inferiority and eventually to a part of everyday life. . . . One of the most significant works ever written in the history of American technology and culture.”

Nature

“[A] truly outstanding work . . . here is a work of intellectual strength written with great literary style. . . . This significant work is likely to be widely cited in academic circles, defining the field for a generation of readers. Don’t let it pass you by! An extraordinary contribution, for all levels of readers.”—Choice

“This is real interdisciplinary work, roaming in focus, adaptive in method.”—Journal of American History

“This scholarly and comprehensive work . . . is nontechnical and emphasizes the social and cultural impact of plastics. . . . Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in understanding contemporary society.”—Library Journal

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About the Author:

JEFFREY L. MEIKLE is a professor of American studies and art history at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also serves as director of the American Studies Program. He is the author of Twentieth Century Limited: Industrial Design in America, 1925-1939.

From Publishers Weekly:

Meikle, professor of American studies and art history at the University of Texas, presents a splendid history of plastic. The book is authoritative, thorough, interdisciplinary and intriguing. As aptly characterized in the preface, "the narrative itself takes on a certain plasticity, touching in turn on the histories of technology and invention, of industry and marketing, of industrial design and consumer culture." The author adroitly balances the different perspectives. He traces the course of plastics from 19th-century celluloid and the first wholly synthetic bakelite, in 1907, through the proliferation of compounds (vinyls, acrylics, polystyrene, nylon, etc.) and recent ecological concerns. Amply considered in context are the cultural influences of plastics, which sprang from the original motives of "substitution, imitation, and innovation" to condition our present perceptions, language, lifestyles and expectations. The general attitude of the public toward this industry is ambivalent; the historical details prove instructive. Interested readers of whatever predisposition will likely enjoy this comprehensive and thoughtful treatise. Illustrations.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780813522340: American Plastic: A Cultural History

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ISBN 10:  081352234X ISBN 13:  9780813522340
Publisher: Rutgers University Press, 1995
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9780756754556: American Plastic: A Cultural History

Diane ..., 1997
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