Fifties Bibliography, 1948-1963
copyright 1998 by Historical Novelists
We cannot possibly list all three thousand
biographies and autobiographies of movie stars and other entertainment
personalities of this period. On any big star, like Elvis, try
to find three lap-breakers which don't list each other in their
bibliographies -- and do have bibliographies. Otherwise, read
at least one known hostile and one known adoring memoir by intimates
If you have read a good history of the Korean
War lately, or even if you remember the bibliographic data, please let us know about
Alsberg, Henry G., editor
The American Guide: A Source Book and
Complete Travel Guide for the United States *****!
Hastings House, NY, 1949; 1348 pgs, index, bibliography
The first all-States travel guide after WW2. There are lots of
old and settled highways and towns that didn't exist back then.
Any regional guides to points of interest should also be collected
The French Secret Service ***
Grafton Books, London, 1990; 363 pgs, index, bibliography
Beginning with the Cabinet Noir of Richelieu, this book traces
French intelligence services through the scandal of the sinking
of the Rainbow Warrior. The chapters for this period are interesting
but not fascinating, though they may have just what you needed
to know for your adventure or mystery thriller. T1
Essex, K. & J. L. Swqnson
Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-Up Legend
General Publishing Group, 1996
500 photos of the infamous/famous model, who brought new class
to fetish. T3
Alas, Babylon ****
J. B. Lippincott, NY, 1959; novel
We rarely recommend fiction as a source of information, but this
is a SF classic people will discuss because it shows surviving
a nuclear war in non-spectacular terms -- organizing, getting
food, being real humans rather than going 'Road Warrior.' Also
valuable because the the norms of behavior it shows. All around,
a superior book to most others.
Goldman, Eric F.
The Crucial Decade -- and After: America
Vintage Books, a div. of Random House, NY, 1960; 368 pgs, index,
Very well-written and readable history of the time, perfect to
get you grounded. This is an expansion of a 1956 book, and some
of the later stuff is only half-digested, like all histories
written too soon after the events, but it is an inhabitant's
view, not an historian's, which you may find the more valuable.
Great coverage of McCarthyism. T1
Gunnel, John A., editor
Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975
Iola, Wisconsin; Krause Publications, 1982
From the editors of 'Old Cars' magazine, this tells you *everything*,
from price to paintjobs, not excluding motor or convenience options.
In the age of the auto, your choice of cars can say as much as
your clothes. This gives you a great selection. T3
Hersh, Seymour M.
The Dark Side of Camelot ****
Little, Brown, Publishers
This is a perfectly-titled compendium of all the dirt on JFK.
The Russian Secret Police ****
Dorset Press, NY, 1970; 313 pgs, index, bibliography
While tracing this from the Opichnina of Ivan the Terrible forward,
you will want Ch. 11 "Beria and the MVD/MGB (1945-1953)"
pgs 202-223, and Ch. 12 "The KGB Under Khruschev (1954-1964"
pgs 224-245. Especially useful for the operations on foreign
The New Look: A Social History of the
Forties and Fifties in Britain ****
Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1964
From the demob adjustments after the War, through the Festival
of Britain, the change in education, work, sexual attitudes,
the development of tabloids and the BBC -- just everything of
interest through 1959. T2
The Rock Story ***
Signet Books, NY, 1970; 222 pgs, no index, no bibliography, but
a discography of music mentioned in each chapter.
A history of rock and roll in the first half of the book, by
one of the music establishment to whom of course anything black
is cool and anything too popular is suspect. Gets most of his
facts right in this section, but we have heard complaints about
the accuracy of the later stuff by people who knew the Haightbury
People's Names: A Cross-Cultural Reference Guide to
the Proper Use of over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in
over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997;
613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
Provides personal and family names for almost any ethnic group
you care to cover. T1
Keene, M. Lamar
The Psychic Mafia *****!
Dell Publishing, NY, 1976; 173 pgs, no index, bibliography worth
the price of the book
An exposé of the Spiritualist Churches (now largely replaced
by "channeling" -- same business, different name) by
one of the former top names who joined as a sincere believer
in the middle '50s and was a consciously fraudulent medium by
1959. Wonderful source. T2
Soldiers of Fortune: The Twentieth Century
Multimedia Publicatins Ltd., UK, 1986; Gallery Books, NY, 1986;
192 pgs, index, no bibliography
Picture-heavy book, useful for the "Britain's 'small wars'"
chapter, pgs. 42-69, as well as the first part of "The 'wind
of change' wars" chapter beginning on pg. 70. These are
largely the anti-colonial wars of the period, as various countries
fought free of their European masters who they thought were dragging
their feet on independence, or in some cases ignoring it. T1
McDarrah, Fred W. & Gloria S.
Beat Generation: Glory Days in Greenwich
Absolutely necessary. Even where there were no beatniks, these
parents of the hippy movement were present in the minds of most
Americans as a little-understood, attractive/repellent group
of rebels in the land of the free that was mired in heavy-duty
conformity. Lots and lots of photos. T1
Melton, H. Keith
CIA Special Weapons & Equipment:
Spy Devices of the Cold War *****!
Sterling Publishing Co., NY, 1993; 128 pgs, index, bibliography
Invaluable catalog of real spy goodies, but also for its brief
history of the CIA, and even an appendix of ID cards, credentials,
and badges. T2 -- T1 if you know you are doing spies.
Spying for America: The Hidden History
of US Intelligence ***
Paragon House, NY, 1989; 482 pgs, index, bibliography
Probably at its strongest in this period, covering both sides
of the Cold War in America. T1
National Geographic, the editors of
The Complete National Geographic; 103
Years of National Geographic Magazine on CD-ROM ****
National Geographic Society, Washington, DC, 1991
Three discs cover exploration, research, and all the period ads.
Out of print due to lawsuit by contributors. Copies very rare:
instead just go read the old issues at the library. T1
The Status Seekers *****!
David McKay Co., Inc., NY, 1959; index, reference notes
Wonderful compilation and interpretation of studies of the many
classes of the "classless society" and their differing
views on many subjects; also on the new class lines developing.
One of the best windows into the heads of people in this period.
Fifties Sourcebook **
Chartwell Books, Seacaucus, NJ, 1990; 196 pgs, index, no bibliography
All sources of the book are British, which is nice if you're
tired of the US, with some covers from French magazines too.
A picture book without much meat, it will give you a visual hors
d'oevre, but not a meal. Good as the missing illustrations to
The New Look. Together, they're a pretty good book. T3
Old Soldiers Never Die: The Life of
Douglas MacArthur *****!
Excellent recent detail biography of the man who wanted to be
President, and was accused by some of setting up his own private
fief in Asia. T3
Rainwater, Coleman, and Handel
Workingman's Wife ****
McFadden, NY, 1962; 265 pgs, index, no bibliography
Designed for marketing to blue-collar women of the time, it is
extremely revealing of their lives and attitudes, especially
with the occasional stop to contrast them with the more familiar
white-collar clubwomen. T2
Thompson, Hunter S.
Hells's Angels: The Strange and Terrible
Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs *****!
Random House, NY, 1966; no index, no bibliography
Most of this was researched by hanging out with the Angels so
the lack of biblio is no surprise. The newspaper or magazine
reports used are well-identified in the text. Very accurate,
very fair, no punches pulled, especially about the high level
of misreportage. T3
Worlds in Collision ***
Doubleday, Garden City NY, 1950
Velikovsky's challenge to uniformitarianism and gradualism in
astronomy and geology was so witch-hunted by traditional academicians
-- who did not read the evidence in the books, but based their
objections on publisher's compact descriptions -- that his works
could often only be found with the fringies, hollow-earthers
and saucerites. The fact that he was of Russian-Jewish birth
would of course have no bearing on his treatment in the McCarthy
era, when Jews were excluded from private schools and country
clubs. However, his concepts of neo-catastrophism, if not precise
interpretations, are slowly conquering in the physical sciences.
Ages In Chaos ,
1952 Earth in Upheaval , 1955 Oedipus and
Akhnaton, 1960 Peoples of the Sea ,
1977 (his best)
American Memory ****!
For everything American, whether books, maps,
pamphlets, or pictures. The Library of Congress might have up
what you're looking for, as well as things you never imagined
Dining Through the Decades *****!
An entertaining overview on popular trends
in American cuisine from the 1900s through the 1990s. Includes
recipes from each decade
Over 200 articles on the succession, courts,
development of titles, lines of descent, legalities of claims
to titles, etc. on the upper classes of Europe. Some refer forward
as far as this period. These are topics often covered nowhere
at all. As well, portrait galleries of various families can be
Twists, Slugs and Roscoes: A Glossary
of Hardboiled Slang ****
Here's your guide to talking tough for underworld
types. Accurate and well-researched. Check especially the note
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