Read like a Mad Man

October 13th, 2010 by Sarah Laleman Ward

I  just saw this post on Gothamist today that the Battery Park City Library has been posting links on their Twitter feed about books that have appeared on the AMC hit TV show Mad Men.

If you’ve not seen Mad Men, I highly recommend it. It is a show about the world of advertising on Madison Avenue in New York, starting in the early 1960s. The show is incredibly well-written and the attention to period detail in the sets, props and costumes is unparalleled. But I digress – back to the books!

The Battery Park City Library has a list of titles either seen or mentioned on the show, and I am happy to report that Hunter has copies of many of these books available for check out. Click on the title for a link to the CUNY+ record to get the call number. Of these books, I recently read The Group, which is a glimpse into the lives of a group of highly educated women in the 30s and 40s, and what happened to them post-college. Betty Draper was reading it on the show, and it seemed to me to be commentary on her own life.

Meditations in an Emergency – Frank O’Hara
Confessions of an Advertising Man – David Ogilvy
Babylon Revisited (in Major American Short Stories) – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Chrysanthemum and the Sword - Ruth Benedict
Exodus - Leon Uris
Ship of Fools – Katherine Ann Porter
Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence
The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
The Agony and the Ecstasy – Irving Stone
The Group – Mary Mccarthy
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (all six volumes available in ebrary electronic book format, also in print) – Edward Gibbon

In addition to the literature on the show, you can research the time period, the clothes, the hairstyles, and the advertising on the show…anything really. That’s the beauty of a library! Here are some suggestions to get you started:

American Decades – this series of books takes you on a journey through American history in the 20th century, decade by decade. We have print copies in the reference collection on the 4th floor, and the series is also available in e-book format in the database Gale Virtual Reference Library.

60s : All-American Ads – just like it sounds, a collection of American advertisements from the 1960s

Getty Images, 1960s by Nicholas Yapp – a pictorial work of images from the 1960s.

The Conquest of Cool: business culture, counter-culture,  and the rise of hip consumerism by Thomas Frank – from the publisher’s description of the book  “Most people remember the youth counterculture of the 1960s, but Thomas Frank shows that another revolution shook American business during those boom years. He shows how the youthful revolutionaries were joined–and even anticipated–by such unlikely allies as the advertising industry and the men’s clothing business.”

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Posted in Library Collections, Library Resources, Research

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