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The Ten-Cent Plague

The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America

The Ten-Cent Plague by David Hajdu
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The story of the rise and fall of those comic books has never been fully told -- until The Ten-Cent Plague. David Hajdu's remarkable new book vividly opens up the lost world of comic books, its creativity, irreverence, and suspicion of authority.

In the years between World War II and the emergence of television as a mass medium, American popular culture as we know it was first created—in the pulpy, boldly illustrated pages of comic books. No sooner had this new culture emerged than it was beaten down by church groups, community bluestockings, and a McCarthyish Congress—only to resurface with a crooked smile on its face in Mad magazine.

When we picture the 1950s, we hear the sound of early rock and roll. The Ten-Cent Plague shows how -- years before music -- comics brought on a clash between children and their parents, between prewar and postwar standards. Created by outsiders from the tenements, garish, shameless, and often shocking, comics spoke to young people and provided the guardians of mainstream culture with a big target. Parents, teachers, and complicit kids burned comics in public bonfires. Cities passed laws to outlaw comics. Congress took action with televised hearings that nearly destroyed the careers of hundreds of artists and writers.

The Ten-Cent Plague radically revises common notions of popular culture, the generation gap, and the divide between "high" and "low" art. As he did with the lives of Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington (in Lush Life) and Bob Dylan and his circle (in Positively 4th Street), Hajdu brings a place, a time, and a milieu unforgettably back to life.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux; March 2008
448 pages; ISBN 9781429937054
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Title: The Ten-Cent Plague
Author: David Hajdu
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BOOK REVIEW: The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How it Changed America - Charleston City Paper
Wed, 09 Apr 2008 01:55:29 -0700
Charleston City PaperBOOK REVIEW: The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How it Changed AmericaCharleston City ...
Book Review: The Ten-Cent Plague - Mother Jones
Thu, 06 Mar 2008 19:06:01 -0800
Mother JonesBook Review: The Ten-Cent PlagueMother JonesIn this earnestly diligent cultural history, David Hajdu chronicles the ...
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