A Guide to an American Subculture
by Micah L. Issitt
February 2011, 159pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38604-6
$43, £34, 38€, A59
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38605-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The Goth subculture emerged in the 1980s and has since spread around the globe, with large populations of adherents in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan. Goth influence is reflected in the recent interest in vampires and by its presence in art, music, and literature. But what does it all mean?

This in-depth exploration of Goth culture invites fresh understanding—and a critique of contemporary mainstream culture by comparison.

Goth culture is extremely diverse, touching on visual art, fashion, film, music, and body aesthetics. Goths: A Guide to an American Subculture offers a concise, easy-to-follow history of the subculture that explores its emergence and its impact on popular culture in the United States.

The book covers films, bands, and artists central to Goth culture, with emphasis on the Goth approach to fashion and body adornment. In addition, it discusses how America’s Goth culture has influenced Goth populations elsewhere and how international developments have changed the U.S. Goth community. The volume is enriched with biographies of prominent Goth celebrities, such as Marilyn Manson and Robert Smith, as well as with interviews that offer readers a firsthand view of the culture. It concludes with an evaluation of Goth culture today, a look at what the future might hold, and a discussion of the significance of Goth culture to American society as a whole.


  • Sidebars cover topics such as face paint, hair color, and the origin of various body piercings
  • Biographical sketches and interviews help students learn about the people fundamental to Goth culture
  • Primary documents support research and analysis
  • A glossary helps students understand essential terms related to the Goths.
  • A bibliography of print and nonprint resources directs readers to additional sources of information
Micah L. Issitt is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia, PA. His writing has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and academic publications. His published works include Greenwood's Hippies: A Guide to an American Subculture.


"This is an exceptionally interesting book for readers who are intrigued by Goth culture."—School Library Journal, July 1, 2011
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