REFERENCE

Popular Fads and Crazes Through American History

2 vols. Greenwood. Aug. 2018. 800p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781440851827. $198; ebk. ISBN 9781440851834. HIST
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OrangeReviewStarHendricks (America's First Ladies) analyzes fads from the pre-1900s to the 2010s in chapters that begin with an overview of a specific decade, followed by alphabetically arranged entries of the period's major crazes, related sidebars, likely reasons why these trends took off when they did, and "see also" references. The overviews do not include bibliographies, but each individual entry has its own bibliography, and Volume 2 offers one as well. Volume 1 contains a broad category guide (e.g., film, music, fashion, sports, technology), while Volume 2 has a detailed index and popular slang and catchphrase glossary organized by decade. Other materials on the topic view fads from the advertising or commercial perspective, whereas this well-written selection takes a historical and sociological point of view. The set features occasional illustrations (Shirley Temple, Howdy Doody, zoot suit), but the work would have been more engaging and informative had it depicted specific items such as the hula-hoop, conk hairdo, bustle, corset, and hoop skirt.
VERDICT This extremely browsable, entertaining title is a pithier option to the Time-Life "Decades" series and will appeal to trivia fans as well as those desiring to relive the past's fun, unusual, or influential fads and activities.

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