The most significant conquest of the twentieth century may well have been the triumph of American consumer society over Europe's bourgeois civilization. It is this little-understood but world-shaking campaign that unfolds in "Irresistible Empire", Victoria de Grazia's brilliant account of how the American standard of living defeated the European way of life and achieved the global cultural hegemony that is both its great strength and its key weakness today.
Victoria de Grazia is Professor of History, Columbia University.
Introduction: The Fast Way to Peace 1. The Service Ethic How Bourgeois Men Made Peace with Babbittry 2. A Decent Standard of Living How Europeans Were Measured by the American Way of Life 3. The Chain Store How Modern Distribution Dispossessed Commerce 4. Big-Brand Goods How Marketing Outmaneuvered the Marketplace 5. Corporate Advertising How the Science of Publicity Subverted the Arts of Commerce 6. The Star System How Hollywood Turned Cinema Culture into Entertainment Value 7. The Consumer-Citizen How Europeans Traded Rights for Goods 8. Supermarketing How Big-Time Merchandisers Leapfrogged over Local Grocers 9. A Model Mrs. Consumer How Mass Commodities Settled into Hearth and Home Conclusion: How the Slow Movement Put Perspective on the Fast Life Notes Bibliographic Essay Acknowledgments Index