THE FIFTIES, The History Channel, $99.95.
Based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Halberstam’s book of the same name, this six-volume video program takes a nostalgic look back at a time of great prosperity in the United States and reports on the news, music, television commercials, movies, fashions, and crazes of the decade. The series also documents the lives of some of the era’s personalities, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jack Kerouac, Joseph McCarthy, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Nixon, Elvis Presley, and Willie Mays, and highlights events that brought conflict and contradiction to the Fifties, such as the Korean War and the civil rights and feminist movements. Interviews with author Betty Friedan, journalist Mike Wallace, poet Allen Ginsberg, and record producer Sam Phillips–who handled Elvis’s first recording, “My Happiness,” and wrote a note for his secretary, “Good ballad singer, hold for later”–complete this look at one of the most fondly remembered decades of this century.
More reviews from the May/June 1998 issue of American History:
THE HOMES OF FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT AMERICAN HISTORYTHE IRISH VOLUNTEER: SONGS OF THE IRISH UNION SOLDIER 1861-1865 THE LAST DAYS OF WORLD WAR II