"Buffalo Bill in Bologna" reveals that the globalization of American mass culture that seems unstoppable today began as early as the mid-nineteenth century. In fact, by the end of World War I, the United States already boasted an advanced network of culture industries that served to promote American values. Robert W. Rydell and Rob Kroes narrate how the circuses, amusement parks, vaudeville, mail-order catalogs, dime novels, and movies that developed after the Civil War - tools central to hastening the reconstruction of the country - actually doubled as agents of American cultural diplomacy abroad. As symbols of America's version of the "good life," cultural products became a primary means for people around the world, especially in Europe, to reimagine both America and themselves in the context of America's growing global sphere of influence. Paying special attention to the role of the World's Fairs, the exporting of Buffalo Bill's "Wild West" show to Europe, the release of "The Birth of a Nation", and Woodrow Wilson's creation of the Committee on Public Information, Rydell and Kroes offer an absorbing tour through America's cultural expansion at the turn of the century.
"Buffalo Bill in Bologna" is thus a tour de force that recasts what has been popularly understood about this period of American and global history.
Robert W. Rydell is professor of history at Montana State University - Bozeman. He is the author of six books, including All the World's a Fair and World of Fairs, both published by the University of Chicago Press. Rob Kroes is professor of American studies at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of eleven books including, most recently, If You've Seen One, You've Seen the Mall and Them and Us: Questions of Citizenship in a Globalizing World.