01. Glenn C. Altschuler, American Studies

All Shook Up: How Rock ‘n’ Roll Changed America (Oxford University Press, 2003). Altschuler shows that the rise of rock ‘n’ roll—and the outraged reception to it—reveals much about the values of the United States in the 1950s, a decade that saw a great struggle for the control of popular culture. In particular, Altschuler illustrates how rock’s “switchblade beat” opened up wide fissures in American society along the fault lines of family, sexuality, and race. He delivers an understanding of the 1950s as a period of anxiety and conflict, having more in common with the 1960s than one might think. In this study of popular culture, Altschuler includes vivid biographical sketches of the great rock ‘n’ rollers, including Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly—plus their white-bread doppelgangers such as Pat Boone.

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