ABC-CLIO/Greenwood - Reference

Pop Goes the Decade

The Fifties

by Ralph G. Giordano
With Essay Contributions by Matthew R. Giordano, Jeff Benjamin, and Omar Swartz


While the 1950s are often portrayed as an idyllic era, this decade should also be remembered for segregation and condoned violence against African Americans as well as rampant sexism.

Print Flyer
Cover image for Pop Goes the Decade

June 2017


Pages 360
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Popular Culture/General
  American History/Culture

Covering significant historical and cultural moments, public figures and celebrities, art and entertainment, and technology that influenced life during the decade, this book documents the 1950s through the lens of popular culture.

On the surface, the 1950s was a time of post-war prosperity and abundance. However, in spite of a relaxation of immigration policies, the "good life" in the 50s was mainly confined to white non-ethnic Americans. A new Cold War with the Soviet Union intended to contain the threat of Communism, and the resulting red scare tinged the experience of all U.S. citizens during the decade.

This book examines the key trends, people, and movements of the 1950s and inspects them within a larger cultural and social context. By highlighting controversies in the decade, readers will gain a better understanding of the social values and thinking of the time. The examination of the individuals who influenced American culture in the 1950s enables students to gauge the tension between established norms of conformity and those figures that used pop culture as a broad avenue for change—either intentionally, or by accident.


  • Presents a balanced perspective on the decade that debunks the popular myth that the 1950s was uniformly a happy, carefree time of wholesome fun and "the good old days"
  • Documents the suburban transformation that drastically changed American society
  • Provides data that shows television viewing statistics and viewer ratings that helps readers see the influence of television media in the 1950s
  • Includes a section that explores how the changes within the 1950s have a legacy that continue to affect our current cultural climate
Series Description

Pop Goes the Decade

The Greenwood Pop Goes the Decade series puts the hot trends, memorable people, and influential movements of each decade inside a larger cultural and social context. By highlighting controversies, students and general readers will develop a better idea of social values. Similarly, the coverage of the individuals who influenced each decade enables a deeper understanding of the tension between established norms and those figures who used pop culture as an avenue for change. The legacy section of each book in the series demonstrates the lasting effects of each decade through detailed documentation of how its influence is still felt today.
Each Pop Goes the Decade title features a timeline at the beginning of every title in the series highlighting significant cultural moments and a "controversies in pop culture" section that explores pop culture items and moments that shocked the public and challenged underlying social mores. The books in this series also include a "game changers" section that spotlights the public figures and celebrities who had the largest influence on the decade as well as a section that examines the technological means by which media, news, and culture were shared in that era.
Author Info

Ralph G. Giordano is a professional architect, a full-time teacher at Monsignor Farrell High School, and an adjunct college professor at Kean University in New Jersey. He holds a master's degree from the City University of New York and a bachelor's degree in architecture from the New York Institute of Technology. Giordano has authored six books on American culture and is a member of the Authors Guild. His work has garnered a feature article in The New York Times, among many other publications. Giordano has received the prestigious Council of the Arts Humanities Award on Staten Island (COAHSI), recognizing his long commitment to the arts and humanities within New York City; the President's Dolphin Award for Outstanding Service and Contribution at the College of Staten Island; as well as a Faculty Appreciation Award presented by the Student/Athletes of CSI for his excellence in teaching. In 1995, he was inducted into the College of Staten Island Alumni Hall of Fame.



"Overall, Giordano's book is an easy read that provides general readers and students with an information-packed overview of the decade."Booklist

"This compilation by architect and high school teacher Giordano can be approached as a reference source or a monographic work that delineates the cultural values, developments, and contributions of the era. . . . Summing Up: Highly recommended. High school through undergraduate students; general readers."Choice

"An assignment-oriented pop culture reference, of some interest to general readers but most suited to researchers."Library Journal

"Concise, informative, and inclusive, Pop Goes the Decade: The Fifties would be an appropriate addition to any library collection and particularly useful for undergraduate students doing historical research."ARBAonline

Look Inside

Other Titles of Interest

Pop Goes the Decade cover imageMusic of the First World War cover imageFashion Fads through American History cover image
Clothing and Fashion cover imageComics through Time cover imageEncyclopedia of Classic Rock cover image

Product Search

ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Product Search

Publication Year

Need Help? Try our Search Tips