What do Madonna, Ray Charles, Mount Rushmore, suburbia, the banjo, and the Ford Mustang have in common? Whether we adore, ignore, or deplore them, they all influence our culture, and color the way America is perceived by the world.
In this A-to-Z collection of essays scholars explore more than one hundred people, places, and phenomena as they seek to discover what it means to be labeled icon. From the Alamo to Muhammad Ali, from John Wayne to the zipper, the American icons covered in this unique three-volume set include subjects from culture, law, art, food, religion, and science. By providing numerous ways for the reader to engage in the process of interpreting these images and artifacts, the work serves as a unique resource for students of American history and culture. Features 100 illustrations.
What do Madonna, Ray Charles, Mount Rushmore, suburbia, the banjo, and the Ford Mustang have in common? Whether we adore, ignore, or deplore them, they all influence our culture, and color the way America is perceived by the world. This A-to-Z collection of essays explores more than one hundred people, places, and phenomena that have taken on iconic status in American culture. The scholars and writers whose thoughts are gathered in this unique three-volume set examine these icons through a diverse array of perspectives and fields of expertise. Ranging from the Alamo to Muhammad Ali, from John Wayne to the zipper, this selection of American icons represents essential elements of our culture, including law, art, food, religion, and science. Featuring more than 100 illustrations, this work will serve as a unique resource for students of American history and culture.
The interdisciplinary scholars in this work examine what it means when something is labeled as an icon. What common features do the people, places, and things we deem to be iconic share? To begin with, an icon generates strong responses in people, it often stands for a group of values (John Wayne), it reflects forces of its time, it can be reshaped or extended by imitation, and it often breaks down barriers between various segments of American culture, such as those that exist between white and black America, or between high and low art. The essays contained in this set examine all these aspects of American icons from a variety of perspectives and through a lively range of rhetoric styles.
- 25 reproducibles, such as letters home to parents and worksheets
- 15 photographs of famous chess players and of students playing chess
- 28 chess diagrams and 7 examples of student work
- A chronology of chess from ancient times to the present
- Maps of the spread of the Islamic Empire after Muhammed's death
- A glossary of 90 chess terms from past and present, such as chatrang and en passant
Reviews"The 116 entries assigned iconic status in these volumes represent a tapestry of American life and experience, e.g., John Wayne, the Harley-Davidson motorcycle, Coney Island, the Crayola crayon, Martin Luther King Jr., antiperspirant, and more. Each approximately seven-page essay traces the history of the person, place, or thing, focusing on the previously discussed elements constituting its iconic status. This encyclopedia is targeted to a general readership, but scholars of American culture and popular culture can profitably use it. Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers."—Choice, January 1, 2006
"America is icon crazy; any person, place, or thing that grabs our collective attention for more than a week becomes a potential icon, a cultural emblem of our society. This encyclopedia by editors Dennis Hall and independent scholar Susan Grove Hall and their academic contributors has winnowed the vast field down to 100 icons, chosen by surveying current iconographic research and testing for relevance with various age groups....Iconographic issues are touched on in many other reference works on popular culture, such as American Decades and the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, but none treats them so specifically. This entertaining and informative reference work is recommended for high school, college, and public libraries."—Library Journal, September 1, 2006
"American culture scholars and pop culture junkies rejoice! American Icons is a collection suitable for studying or just browsing, and it has something for everyone....These icons may elicit good, bad, or indifferent responses, but they are all familiar. Even if you're not a fan of Oprah Winfrey and her various pursuits, you know who she is, and you can learn more about her in this work....This collection is highly recommended and appropriate for high school and college students as well as the general public."—Reference & User Services Quarterly, April 1, 2007
"This treasure trove of information provides an up-close-and-personal look at an eclectic potpourri of people, places, and things that for some reason have special resonance for Americans....[t]he set provides a wealth of themes, suggestions of possible patterns among them, and how cultural icons are influenced by, and in turn influence different generations."—VOYA, April 1, 2007
"This reference contains alphabetically arranged, well-written entries with thorough analyses, b&w illustrations, and works cited."—Library Media Connection, March 1, 2007
"Teens should enjoy this examination of cultural icons, some part of their landscape and some less familiar."—Booklist/Reference Books Bulletin, February 15, 2007
"Aimed at students and general readers, this three-volume reference examines a variety of icons that exemplify American culture. Each essay reveals a particular icon's origins and changes, discusses its influences, and considers the meaning of its enduring appeal or negative connotations. Organized alphabetically by topic, the entries cover a diverse range of subjects, including (for example) the banjo, flea markets, Oprah Winfrey, guns, Wal-Mart, the Muppets, John Wayne, suburbia, the Golden Gate Bridge, and cell phones."—Reference & Research Book News/Art Book News Annual 2007, November 1, 2006