Monsters in America Website
A short while ago we told you about the upcoming book from historian Scott Poole entitled Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and Haunting, which is being released October 15th, and now we have the official trailer and a link to a newly launched website to share.
Witches and night creatures that terrified the Puritans. Demonic rites and horrible shapes from beyond the grave that lived in the shadows of Southern plantations. After World War II visitors from other worlds threatened apocalypse. In the 1980s murderous maniacs hunted Americans on quiet suburban streets and even at summer camp. And today worse things may be waiting. This is the history of America … one fear … one monster at a time.
From our colonial past to the present, the monster in all its various forms has been a staple of American culture. A masterful survey of our grim and often disturbing past, Monsters in America uniquely brings together history and culture studies to expose the dark obsessions that have helped create our national identity.
Monsters are not just fears of the individual psyche, historian Scott Poole explains, but are concoctions of the public imagination, reactions to cultural influences, social change, and historical events. Conflicting anxieties about race, class, gender, sexuality, religious beliefs, science, and politics manifest as haunting beings among the populace. From Victorian-era mad scientists to modern-day serial killers, new monsters appear as American society evolves, paralleling fluctuating challenges to the cultural status quo.
Consulting newspaper accounts, archival materials, personal papers, comic books, films, and oral histories, Poole adroitly illustrates how the creation of the monstrous “other” not only reflects society’s fears but shapes actual historical behavior and becomes a cultural reminder of inhuman acts.
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