Cover

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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. 4-4

Copyright Page

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pp. 5-5

Dedication Page

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pp. 6-7

Contents

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pp. vii-9

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1: From The Jungle to Fast Food Nation: American Déjà Vu

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pp. 1-17

In 2001, forty-five Vanderbilt University students, doubtless hoping for a film-and-literature course, enrolled in my "Twentieth-Century American Blockbusters." These blockbusters were books, not movies, I explained that hot, late August day. The titles, I emphasized, deserved the name...

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2: Bulked Up and Hollowed Out: Looking Backward, Looking Forward

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pp. 18-61

In the early 1980s, I agreed to edit a paperback reprint of Edward Bellamy's time-travel romance Looking Backward-2000-1883 (1887), published in the era known as America's Gilded Age. A blockbuster novel of its own day, based on a love story and studded with technological wonders...

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3: Muckrakers c. 1900: Civic Passions, "Righteous Indignation"

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pp. 62-104

The muckrakers grew up in a world identified by two titles: The Gilded Age (1873) and The Robber Barons (1934).* One signifies a ruling aristocracy based on theft and plunder. The other profiles an entire era's cheap glossy reality-its gilding-which belied its obsession with gold and the desperation of those without it. The era's subheadings...

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4: Muckrakers c. 2000

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pp. 105-206

In the fall of 2001, the mail brought a particularly nice surprise: a copy of Book magazine, featuring a cover story on "Modern Muckrakers." This quarterly general-interest magazine devoted to the promotion of seasonal new books now showcased a genre that I believed deserved much greater attention and respect. I turned to it...

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Epilogue: Tipping Point, or the Long Goodbye?

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pp. 207-217

Perhaps a pendulum is ready to swing. Perhaps, to use Malcolm Gladwell's title, things are approaching the shift that Gladwell defines as The Tipping Point (2000), the moment "when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire" (see introduction...

Bibliography

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pp. 219-225

Index

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pp. 227-232

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 233-234

Expressions of appreciation often begin with thanks to friends, colleagues, and family, while institutions round out the tribute, like ballast. This time, I reverse the order to thank, first, Vanderbilt University -- named, of course, for its founder, Cornelius Vanderbilt-which gave me academic leave and travel funds for...