Louis Menand examines the churning of American culture after World War II.


On occasion, foreign and American film genres clashed with entertaining results. Menand’s description of the making of “Bonnie and Clyde” is a masterpiece of storytelling. The script was of two American journalists who imagined “antithelle” as “Breathless” and a funny gangster photo featuring the quiet antheir in the manner of Charles Ajnvor … ‘Shoot the Piano Player,’ with a There is a romantic song that will be a bit outrageous, ‘Jules and Jim.’

François Truffaut expressed interest in making the film before performing “Fahrenheit 451”. He gave the script to his friend Jean-Luc Goddard, who could not fathom why the picture had to be shot in Texas, when it could be easily filmed in Japan. “I’m talking cinema and you’re talking meteorology,” he lectured the two Americans before bidding. The option was chosen by Warren Beatty, whose career, the post- “Splendor in the Grass”, skyrocketed. Fantastically cast by director Arthur Penn, the film very rarely made it. The studio boss, Jack Warner, despised it. Beatty bears no resemblance to Humphrey Bogart or James Cogni, Warner’s favorite bad guys, and the script portrays a clan of murderous, but otherwise mountainous hills leaving Mogul speechless beyond a string of obscure features.

“Bonnie and Clyde” received a better reception in Europe than in the United States. Bosley Crowther, a longtime critic for The New York Times, called it “a grand, flamboyant film”. Other early reviews were also similar, with the notable exception of Pauline Kell’s 7,000-word pion in The New Yorker, a publication, Maynand notes, that “well-educated, culturally insecure folk” call the wrong things Not eager to like, or to like “the right things for the wrong reasons. “KL had a reputation for not liking almost anything. In this instance, however, the film’s strangeness, sexuality, and their affection for foreign touches helped reassure viewers, as well as future critics, that they were witnesses to the watchman’s change. Or, as Menand says: “When Dunaway stroked Clyde’s pistol and sucked it at a Coke bottle, New Wave truly came to America.”

Writers are free to choose their characters, and Menand, with 727 pages of text, is the most free. Along with a host of public intellectuals are finely autobiographical biographies of Elvis, The Beatles, James Baldwin, Susan Sontag, Betty Freedan, and Tom Hayden, whose business no longer exists. Hundreds of names have been mentioned, making it difficult at times to connect the dots. And there are some curious omissions, such as Alfred Kinsey, whose vast studies of the sexual practices of America’s men and women caused cultural earthquakes; And Lillian Hellman and Mary McCarthyThe country’s leading female writers, whose bare-knuckle exchanges are the literary versions of the Muhammad Ali-Jo Frazier trilogy.

Mainland culminated in the 1960s, as an anchor in Vietnam. With scattered student protests against the role of the modern university as a servant of anti-incumbency, the antiwar movement had begun – sociologist c. A message borrowed from Wright Mills, and by President Eisenhower of all people, echoed in his farewell address. And the protest was made in a way that was largely confined to college campuses, until the Peace increase in Vietnam could be ignored. America’s avant-garde arrived late in the conflict, but quickly made their presence felt. Political activism replaced political apathy. Some believed that Vietnam sucked oxygen from America’s most creative minds. Meyandt takes a more sympathetic view, seeing Shift as a welcome, if unbridled, reaction to an undisclosed disaster.

Meanwhile, realists such as Kennon and Morgenthau insisted on the insanity of entering into a conflict in which the United States had no legitimate interest. By then, Kennan had softened his earlier views, believing that abstinence could never be an empty check. There were nations that were worth defending, and nations that were not. His contempt for the arrogance of the Kennedy-Johnson policy opposed his disdain for radical students and waved Viotong flags.


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