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History of the Book

A History of the Book in America: Volume I: The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World edited by Hugh Amory, David D. Hall (The University of North Carolina Press) s first volume of the five-volume series on the history of the book in America carries the interrelated stories of publishing, writing, and reading from the beginning of the colonial period in America up to 1790. Three major themes run through the volume: the persisting connections between the book trade in the Old World and the New; the gradual emergence of a competitive book trade in which newspapers were the largest form of production; and the institution of a "culture of the Word," organized around an essentially theological understanding of print, authorship, and reading. The volume also traces the histories of literary and learned culture, censorship and "freedom of the press," and literacy and orality.
Volume 1, The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World carries the interrelated stories of publishing, writing, and reading from the beginning of the colonial period in America up to 1790. Three major themes run through the volume: the persisting connections between the book trade in the Old World and the New, evidenced in modes of intellectual and cultural exchange and the dominance of imported, chiefly English books; the gradual emergence of a competitive book trade in which newspapers were the largest form of production; and the institution of a "culture of the Word," organized around an essentially theological understanding of print, authorship, and reading, complemented by other frameworks of meaning that included the culture of republicanism.

A History of the Book in America: Volume 2: An Extensive Republic: Print, Culture, and Society in the New Nation, 1790-1840 edited by Robert A. Gross and Mary Kelley (The University of North Carolina Press)

ISBN: 978-0-8078-3339-1, $60.00 cloth

Publication date: May 1, 2010

A History of the Book in America: Volume 3: The Industrial Book, 1840-1880  by Scott E. Casper (The University of North Carolina Press) This volume of A History of the Book in America covers the creation, distribution, and uses of print and books in the mid-nineteenth century, when a truly national book trade emerged. Essays examine the rise of the manufactured, bound product and the idea of the book as the quintessential product of the industrialization of both the print and papermaking trades, which depended on new nationwide networks for finance, transportation, and communication. The volume also chronicles the rise of a uniquely American print culture, as reading and writing were increasingly conceived of as essential to American citizenship, economic success, and cultural achievement.

A History of the Book in America: Volume 4: Print in Motion: The Expansion of Publishing and Reading in the United States, 1880-1940 by Carl F. Kaestle (The University of North Carolina Press) 

In a period characterized by expanding markets, national consolidation, and social upheaval, print culture picked up momentum as the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth. Books, magazines, and newspapers were produced more quickly and more cheaply, reaching ever-increasing numbers of readers. Volume 4 of A History of the Book in America traces the complex, even contradictory consequences of these changes in the production, circulation, and use of print.

Contributors to this volume explain that although mass production encouraged consolidation and standardization, readers increasingly adapted print to serve their own purposes, allowing for increased diversity in the midst of concentration and integration. Considering the book in larger social and cultural networks, essays address the rise of consumer culture, the extension of literacy and reading through schooling, the expansion of secondary and postsecondary education and the growth of the textbook industry, the growing influence of the professions and their dependence on print culture, and the history of relevant technology. As the essays here attest, the expansion of print culture between 1880 and 1940 enabled it to become part of Americans' everyday business, social, political, and religious lives.

The contributors are Megan Benton, Paul S. Boyer, Una M. Cadegan, Phyllis Dain, James P. Danky, Ellen Gruber Garvey, Peter Jaszi, Carl F. Kaestle, Nicolas Kanellos, Richard L. Kaplan, Marcel Chotkowski LaFollette, Elizabeth Long, Elizabeth McHenry, Sally M. Miller, Richard Ohmann, Janice A. Radway, Joan Shelley Rubin, Jonathan D. Sarna, Charles A. Seavey, Michael Schudson, William Vance Trollinger Jr., Richard L. Venezky, James L. W. West III, Wayne A. Wiegand, Michael Winship, and Martha Woodmansee.

A History of the Book in America: Volume 5: The Enduring Book: Print Culture in Postwar America edited by David Paul Nord, Joan Shelley Rubin, MIchael Schudson, David D. Hall (The University of North Carolina Press) 

The fifth volume of A History of the Book in America addresses the economic, social, and cultural shifts affecting print culture from World War II to the present. During this period factors such as the expansion of government, the growth of higher education, the climate of the Cold War, globalization, and the development of multimedia and digital technologies influenced the patterns of consolidation and diversification established earlier.

The thirty-three contributors to the volume explore the evolution of the publishing industry and the business of bookselling. The histories of government publishing, law and policy, the periodical press, literary criticism, and reading--in settings such as schools, libraries, book clubs, self-help programs, and collectors' societies--receive imaginative scrutiny as well. The Enduring Book demonstrates that the corporate consolidations of the last half-century have left space for the independent publisher, that multiplicity continues to define American print culture, and that even in the digital age, the book endures.

David Paul Nord is professor of journalism and adjunct professor of history at Indiana University. He is author of Faith in Reading: Religious Publishing and the Birth of Mass Media in America. Joan Shelley Rubin is professor of history at the University of Rochester. She is author of Songs of Ourselves: The Uses of Poetry in America. Michael Schudson is professor of communication at the University of California, San Diego and at the Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University. He is author of Why Democracies Need an Unlovable Press.


Is the Book Disappearing?

Is the book disappearing? No. Even in an age dazzled by the Internet and distracted by hundreds of television channels, the book endures in something very much like the form it acquired centuries ago. Books produced today, as physical objects, would be easily recognizable to Gutenberg. Books as cultural icons retain a great deal of the magical power they have had for hundreds of years. TV entertainers write books, as do radio talk show hosts, ambitious politicians, billionaire businessmen, and enterprising bloggers. Bookstores populate more communities across the country than ever. Printed matter remains a central resource for formal education, a primary medium of exchange and communication in the arts and sciences, and a focal point for public and political life. Newspapers and magazines, bruised by competition from television and other sources of information and entertainment, persist, although the economic underpinning of the daily newspaper is in jeopardy. Both in the changing world of scientific publishing and in religious and inspirational publishing, print carries on.

More books are published than ever. People buy more books, and presumably read them or look at theml than in the past. There has been a rapid growth of what can be termed high-end literacy. In 1940 Harvard's library held 4.3 million volumes; by 1990 holdings totaled 11.9 million and were 14.4 million in 2000. In the same years, Berkeley's holdings grew from 1.1 million to 7.5 million to 9.1 million, Illinois from 1.3 to 7.7 to 9.4 million, Columbia from 1.7 to 6.o to 7.3 million.' And, of course, people read much else besides books. They read forms and memos and manuals on the job as the economy has shifted to jobs that require reading skills. Reading is presumed by income tax forms, job application forms, voting, prescription medication inserts, bus schedules, self-service gas stations and bank ATMS, and every use of a personal computer. A measure like the percentage of consumer dollars spent on books systematically underestimates the percentage of time people spend encountering texts because it ignores work, school, and online reading.

Yet, alongside reassuring continuity and growth in the production of books and the practices of reading, there is room for doubt about both. Sven Birkerts, in his perfectly titled Gutenberg Elegies, observes of the era of "electronic post-modernity" that it brings individuals growing global awareness, a growing capacity to accommodate multiple stimuli, increasing tolerance, and a willingness to try out what is new. But the cost of this is a fragmented sense of time, reduced patience for sustained inquiry, a shattered faith in institutions and traditions, estrangement from community and from a sense of place, and the loss of a sense of a collective future. These changes erode the conditions for what Birkerts calls "deep reading," that close and caring reading that takes a text seriously and gives it a chance to touch us. Reading at its best, as Birkerts understands it, is part of a "vestigial order."'

Among intellectuals, pessimism about reading is widespread, if rarely as thoughtful as in Birkerts. Optimism is rare, but not absent. Social theorist John Keane is cautiously hopeful about our present-day "communicative abundance," and Richard Lanham sees great opportunity in "the electronic word." Lanham, even in the early days of computer-based writing and reading, was eager to explore a world with a technology that "volatilized print."' Optimism is more frequently to be found in gee-whiz popular writers who are taken with the new electronic possibilities. Journalist Michael Lewis writes with admiration of how text messaging on cell phones is a form of literacy jointly invented by Finnish schoolboys too nervous to ask girls out on dates face-to-face and the Finnish schoolgirls who wanted to share tales of those dates with one another. "They'd proved that if the need to communicate indirectly is sufficiently urgent, words can be typed into a telephone keypad with amazing speed."'

Though more Americans reported reading at least one book of fiction or poetry in 2002 than in 1982, this is only because the adult population grew by 38 million in those years; the percentage of this population engaged in "literary reading" declined from 57 to 47 percent. The decline was greatest for eighteen- to twenty-four-year-olds, from 60 to 43 percent.' The percentage of college-educated single women who participate in book clubs and literary discussion groups declined from one-third to one-fourth between 1974 and 1994.6 The number of people who do not read at all has been rising. There are new concerns about "aliteracy" in the many people who are able to read but have chosen not to.'

Is the literary life dispirited, or dying, or dead? At the end of World War II, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux executive editor Jonathan Galassi has said, literature was more at the heart of American life. "A passion for literature was a cultural norm then—now it's more arcane, eccentric, a specialized passion. Books have been pushed out of the center of the culture. It's not that they aren't still important, but they don't have the same primacy. At a dinner party, people used to ask, 'What are you reading?' Now, it's 'What have you seen?'" But there is reason to believe that this is Manhattan provincialism speaking. In the 1940s, Adolph Kroch, owner of three bookstores in Chicago as well as operator of the book department of a Detroit department store, put his capital into real estate "because he could not find locations where new book stores attempting to sell the whole range of trade books might prosper."' Where were those lively book-centered dinner parties that Galassi recalls but Kroch apparently could not locate?

Could it be that the book endures but reading is endangered — the deep reading Birkerts admires, or the kind of reading David Bell describes as "surrendering to the organizing logic of a book" rather than the "search-driven" scanning encouraged by reading on the computer screen or reading to pass a high school or college exam?" Are the least "bitty" forms of "content," in the language John Thompson uses in his chapter in this volume—those forms of writing that cannot function when chopped into discrete`bits—surviving the best in book form or suffering the most? Although the book endures, has the quality of books been reduced or homogenized through the merging of publishers and the shrinking number of independent bookstores? These complaints have been repeated so often through the years as to cast some doubt on their validity or at least on their urgency. In the 1940s, as today, there were "book industry Cassandras" aplenty as a Social Science Research Council inquiry put it at the time." James T. Farrell complained in 1945 that the market, newly becoming a "dictator" in publishing, "reduces the significance of the individual consciousnesses of editors and publishers."" The book industry was already highly concentrated before World War II, with retailing dominated by department stores (with 38 percent of bookstore sales in 1930-31)." Recent concerns about mergers in publishing, superstore domination of retail, and anxiety about the demise of the "midlist" book operate with too little historical perspective.

While the authors in this volume do not share a uniform sensibility on these issues, each of their chapters adds to a portrait that finds books enduring in a rapidly changing context in the decades since 1945. About this recent history, each has much to say. On our near future, there is disagreement. Some chapters echo the grave concerns just cited that the consolidation of the book business and the preoccupation of publishers with blockbusters will eliminate many good books from the marketplace. Others share the optimism in more or less guarded form of publisher Jason Epstein's observation that more valuable books are published than ever and more people read them. He attributes this to the distributional power of the chain bookstores." This is a key factor (see Laura Miller's chapter) but it is not the only factor. Linda Scott observes in her chapter that the baby boom generation experienced a distinctive book-oriented socialization, reading more than the generations before or after.

The aim of this volume is not to foresee the future but to understand how we arrived at this point — indeed, how to characterize "this point." One thing is sure: we cannot see the past six decades as nothing but the prefiguring of electronic publishing. Quite apart from personal computers, the Internet, Amazon. corn, and the much discussed but so far little used e-book, our age has seen spectacular change. It has been a fabulous era of merger, consolidation, and concentration in the publishing industry (see Beth Luey's chapter), but there have never been more small specialized publishers." It has been an era of lust for the best seller and troubled concern about serious literature, yet more different titles are published annually than ever, and there is a growing diversity in books and other media. It has been an era of fierce commercial competition in publishing, yet never before have governments, universities, foundations, and sundry interest groups subsidized publishing more lavishly. It has been an era when rival media, most notably television, have pressed increasingly on the book, yet the old-fashioned codex book has expanded its reach and is more integrated into more lives and a larger percentage of the population than it was in 1945— even if best sellers are sometimes precisely those written by or about television or movies, sports, or political celebrities.

Change, in short, even before the personal computer and the Internet, has been rapid, complex, and wide-ranging. Michael Korda, whose career at Simon & Schuster spans most of the period covered here, looks back to his first days, in the late 1950s, and can scarcely picture that world as continuous with the present. "One's own photograph from that time now seems to be one of a complete stranger. It is hard to summon up a world so different in so many ways from the present and yet so close, a world where manual typewriters were still in use, in which the orders were counted by a couple of gray-haired ladies, the accountants still used ledgers, and there was a real, live telephone operator with a switchboard on the premises. In the age before the photocopy machine, carbon copies still reigned supreme, and everybody in the editorial department had black smudges on their fingers and shirt cuffs, the proud badge of the profession, like a coal miner's blackened skin."

It is tempting to see the period this volume covers as a single unit, but of course more than a half century of rapid change has its own internal periodization. We do not presume that 1945 was a special moment of equilibrium for print; it is simply the moment where this volume picks up a five-volume narrative. Nor can we presume that the first decade of the twenty-first century is a natural end point or turning point; it is simply the moment when we bring this project to a close.

Approaches to the History of Print

How can we grasp the complex and contradictory developments that affected the creation, impact, and meanings of the printed word during the past sixty years? One strategy would be to chronicle particular exemplars of print — books, magazines, or newspaper stories—that left their mark. In the past six decades, Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948), for instance, looms large. Kinsey's pathbreaking best seller has been described as the work that "made human sexuality a legitimate topic for public discussion."" The initial print run of 10,000 was quickly exhausted and the book remained on the New York limes best-seller list for twenty-seven weeks in a row; more than 300,000 copies sold in the book's first five years. The stir it caused reached the cultural heights as well as the popular press. For Columbia literary star Lionel Trilling, the book's publication and reception, as much as the text itself, was cause for contemplation. It seemed an instance of both the strengths and weaknesses of a democratic culture, one in which social facts have unquestioned authority, in which "science" supersedes or precludes moral judgment—"that all social facts—with the exception of exclusion and economic hardship—must be accepted . . . that is, that no judgment must be passed on them, that any conclusion drawn from them which perceives values and consequences will turn out to be 'undemocratic.' "

We do not often know what seeds a book or article may plant with what consequences, but in the case of the Kinsey report we do know that the idea for the first organization to represent the interests of homosexuals came from Harry Hay, a Hollywood actor and radical activist whose reading of it persuaded him that there was a constituency for such an organization. Hay was the sparkplug among the five Los Angeles men who founded the Mattachine Society in 1951, the first formal association of homosexuals. For Hay and for many others at the time, Kinsey provided the scientific confirmation for what many homosexuals were beginning to feel —"the sense of belonging to a group." It provided "an added push at a crucial time to the emergence of an urban gay subculture.""

Other cases in which specific titles helped to inspire powerful social movements of the postwar years come from the political arena. Lee Edwards, a founder of the pioneering right-wing political group, Young Americans for Freedom, recalled, "For us, the '60s began not with a bang but with a book, The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater." The book was printed (published would be too strong a word) by a small Shepherdsville, Kentucky, printing company—and it made the best-seller lists by the summer of 1960." At the same time, Tom Hayden, a founder of Students for a Democratic Society, saw the left-wing student rebellion also rooted in print; his generation could not "avoid reading criticism of itself and its fathers; indeed, the media have flooded the market with inexpensive paperbacks such as The Lonely Crowd, The Hidden Persuaders, The Organization Man.""

In this volume, we focus on a different, dramatic example of the way a single title can foster a demand for social change: Priscilla Coit Murphy's chapter is exclusively devoted to the impact of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring on the environmental movement. But an alternative approach to the history of print examines multiple titles—genres of writing — in light of the relationships among publishers, authors, editors, and audiences. We consider science publishing (Bruce Lewenstein's chapter), textbooks ( Jonathan Zimmerman's), religious publishing (Paul Gutjahr's), and Spanish-language publications (Ilan Stavans's), each of which operates by different business practices, different concepts of authorship, different paths and patterns of distribution, and different uses and gratifications for readers. Furthermore, while most of this volume investigates books, chapters by James Baughman, James Danky, and Jane Rhodes attend to newspapers, David Abrahamson and Carol Polsgrove to magazines.

The history of print can also be written as a story of the social trends that expressed themselves in and through publishing practices, as in documenting the relationship of the expansion of formal schooling to publishing or tracing the competitive and anxious environment that the Cold War established for print as for so much else in American life, factors discussed in many of our chapters. That theme intersects with another aspect of our subject: print as it relates to the history of government, law, and public policy, from intellectual property law (as in Marshall Leaffer's chapter) to government regulation of telecommunications to judicial decisions concerning obscenity (as in Donald Downs's chapter). The federal government is a producer, regulator, subsidizer, and censor of print, as David Nord and John Richardson show in their chapter. As producer, govern- ments act as their own publishers. As subsidizer, government supports education, science, the arts, and the crucial agents of literacy and literary culture that Kenneth Cmiel discusses in his chapter— libraries. As regulator, government makes the laws concerning copyright and intellectual property as well as legislation to help support failing newspapers or to determine tax regulations on how publishers value their inventory. As a censor, government may formally or clandestinely deny information to the media or prevent its own employees (like those in the cm) from publishing what they know.

In addition, a comprehensive history of print culture must supply a narrative of the technological infrastructure of publishing (see the chapters by Patrick Henry and David Reinking). It must be, as well, the analysis of its economic and organizational underpinnings (see Beth Luey's chapter and also the case study and memoir by Dan Lacy and Robert Frase of the industry's own lobbying efforts). It must examine the changes and variations in the marketplace that buffet or buoy authors, books, and publishers. Publishing is primarily a business, despite the important role of government, universities, foundations, and private patrons who sometimes underwrite it without any prospect of financial return. Publishing operates in a marketplace, and for all the fond affection that people in the print trades have for their occupational world and its products, economic imperatives are strong and threaten (perennially, it seems) to diminish or destroy what writer, editors, and reporters think they are about.

Finally, one can approach the history of books, newspapers, and magazines from the perspective of the audiences who receive and respond to them—audiences that consist both of the literary critics and bibliographers David Hall and Harvey Teres discuss in their chapter and of the readers and collectors taken up in the concluding section of this volume. The talk about books that the cultures of criticism and reading have engendered has often been full of ominous warnings. Doomsayers have looked at consolidation in the publishing industry at almost every point in the past sixty years (and before that, as well) and predicted a devastating end to freedom and diversity in publishing. Although that never happened, this does not mean that nothing happened, but documenting the consolidation, diversification, and specialization in publishing is analytically distinguishable from demonstrating its impact on readers or institutions or unmeasured abstractions like freedom, diversity, or quality of thought. Accompanying consolidation there has been an increase in book titles published, improved distribution, wider access, more choice, and new constituencies reached (notably teenagers and children and, through large print books, the growing population of the elderly). Efficiencies in distribution that online bookselling makes possible have even encouraged publication for "niche markets" now that profitability on the basis of modest sales is more and more likely.

Given the multiple avenues that lead to its multifaceted subject, volume 5 of A History of the Book in America offers broad coverage more than a conceptual apparatus. We are modest not for lack of ambition but in the judgment that grand visions have been repeatedly wrecked on the shoals of the next marketing breakthrough, technological innovation, or original authors' finding or building a mass audience as they tell old-fashioned stories in newfangled ways. Thus, this volume is eclectic, the editors insisting only that the chapters be genuinely historical, alert to changes over time and to viewing changes in publishing practices against the backdrop of social, economic, political, and cultural developments in the broader society that they both contribute to and reflect.

The Changing Social Context of Print: Education

Among those historical developments, perhaps the most significant, from the viewpoint of the publishing world, have been the postwar growth of population, educational attainment, and affluence and, with these trends, a growing insistence on the necessity of formal schooling for entrance into adulthood. The growth in elementary and secondary school enrollments was notable. In 1940 just over 28 million children were enrolled in school, representing 95 percent of the elementary-school-age population and 79 percent of the high-school-age population. In 1950 numbers had climbed only slightly to 28.5 million, but thereafter the baby boom transformed the schools. By 1960 41.8 million students were in school, by 1970 51.3 million before the baby boomers passed on into higher education and adulthood. Not only had the school-age population increased by more than 8o percent between 1950 and 1970, but going to school through high school had become a more standard practice, with 94 percent of fourteen- to seventeen-year-olds enrolled by 1970."

Increasingly, college was an expected stage in life, too. In 1939-40, 9 percent of eighteen- to twenty-one-year-olds were in college, a figure that reached 14 percent in 1950, 24 percent by 1961, and 40 percent by 1980.24 The college campus became a fountain of cultural production, especially in the sciences, and a primary market for cultural products — both textbooks designed exclusively for classroom use and "quality paperbacks" of more general appeal.

The growth of higher education got a boost with the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the GI Bill. More than 2 million veterans took advantage of its provision of free college education. Many colleges saw their enrollments double from prewar levels during the first year or two after the war, thanks in large part to the GI Bill.'

Publishing had adapted during the war to meet the needs and interests of men and women in uniform (see John Hench's chapter), and it followed the veterans to college, too. Jason Epstein, as a junior editor at Doubleday, launched the Doubleday Anchor series of quality paperbacks in 1951 to serve, among others, the expanding population of college students. "I didn't think much about politics in those days," Epstein recalls in his memoir, "but in retrospect it is obvious that the GI Bill was a glorious attempt to fulfill the promise of American democracy."" His innovation at Anchor emerged from his own college experience: "I wanted to share with the world the literary euphoria I had enjoyed at Columbia College.""

The college market grew large and reliable. MIT economist Paul Samuelson's Economics made him a multimillionaire. First published in 1948, the book has gone through edition after edition, revised generally on a three-year cycle, and has been translated into more than thirty languages. By 1990 the book had sold more than 3.2 million copies (not to mention untold sales in the used-book market)." The eighteenth edition appeared in 2004, an 800-page tome with a list price in 2008 of $153.

The college market sustained not only textbooks but original intellectual contributions addressed to scholars and the educated public as much as to students. In 1950 the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson published Childhood and Society, with W. W. Norton, after Harper & Row and Alfred A. Knopf turned it down. Norton took it on only because the manuscript impressed a psychiatrist friend of Norton's president. To start, sales were a modest 1,500 in the first year. But they slowly grew-16,000 altogether after five years, a third of those for course adoptions. Annual sales surged after 1963, when Norton issued a revised paperback edition aimed directly at the college textbook market. Soon the book was selling more than 30,00o copies a year." Erikson's book made the language of "identity" and "identity crisis" part of common parlance and part of American collective self-understanding, even without becoming highly visible beyond the college campus.

The Mixed Legacy of the Cold War

In the 1950s and 1960s, Cold War rhetoric helped overcome the longtime resistance to substantial federal funding of education. The key legislation was the National Defense Education Act, passed in 1958. NDEA provided federal subsidies to libraries and to higher education, particularly in science, mathematics, technology, foreign languages, geography, and area studies. This infusion of support for higher education was a boon for educational and academic publishing and helped make the 196os "a golden age for publishers of scholarly research."" In the NDEA era, university presses multiplied and existing ones expanded. All of them helped support rapidly growing university faculties and a tenure system built increasingly around research published in books and scientific journals. By the 1980s and 1990s, Cold War rhetoric had faded but the increasing globalization of the economy offered a new source of rhetorical power for those who wanted to increase federal investment in education. If Americans no longer felt pressured to beat the Russians, they now had to keep up with the Japanese in cars and electronics and the Scandinavians in mobile phones.

If the Cold War encouraged knowledge production in one way, it curtailed it in another. This was especially true in film and television, where Senator Joseph McCarthy's notorious attacks on alleged communist influence took their greatest toll. In the world of print, the State Department ordered the removal of books by "subversives" from their 150 overseas libraries, dumping works by Dashiell Hammett, Lillian Hellman, Langston Hughes, and Theodore H. White, among others.' There were scattered instances of schoolhouse or public library censorship, but more efforts at censorship were attempted than succeeded. One historian of the Cold War, Stephen Whitfield, observed that "the publishing industry was largely immune to the intimidation of the Red Scare."' To what extent freedom of inquiry and publication was restricted is impossible to say; it is hard to document what people, under pressure, chose not to think or write or publish. Many college professors and schoolteachers feared for their jobs, and some lost their jobs. A 1955 survey found about 25 percent of college professors confessing to a degree of political self-censorship."

McCarthyism touched newspapers, too. Senator James Eastland's Internal Security Subcommittee pursued journalists accused of past communist affiliation, and some of them who pled the Fifth Amendment or the First Amendment were fired." Even after the persecutions of the McCarthy era faded, the Cold War legitimated the first peacetime effort in American history to enforce government secrecy on a massive scale. Classification of documents became routine. The Eisenhower administration, while not the first to withhold information from the Congress, laid claim to a specific legal right for doing so, a right it called "executive privilege."" In 1955 New York Times correspondent James Reston coined the term "news management" to describe government control over information. Government officials did not just withhold information from the public but covered up and lied. Sometimes the press cooperated with the lying. In 1956 American newspapers refused to send reporters to China, despite an open invitation, because they did not want to embarrass the government. In 1960 the Washington Post and New York Times had both been well aware of U-2 spy flights but printed nothing. In 1962 the Times knew of the planned "Bay of Pigs" invasion of Cuba but, upon request from the White House, toned down its story."

Even so, the press was uneasy with government information policy and so was a determined Democratic congressman from California, John Moss, who worked hand in glove with some of the journalism professional associations to promote more open information in government. Moss held hearings and needled the Eisenhower administration (and the Kennedy and Johnson administrations to follow), ultimately passing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which Lyndon Johnson unenthusiastically signed into law on the Fourth of July, 1966.

The Freedom of Information Act, substantially strengthened in 1974 in response to Watergate, was a landmark in the battle between sunshine and secrecy in government. A legislative compromise, FOIA covered federal administration agencies (but neither Congress nor the White House) and carved out nine exemptions (including for "national security" and the personal privacy of federal employees) that FOIA officers are obliged to safeguard. When people or organizations request information that does not fit within one or more of the exemptions, however, the officers are duty-bound to release it to the requester. The FOIA "created a notable challenge to the history of government secrecy; it provided a set of rules and procedures, officials and offices dedicated not to the collection and maintenance of secrets but rather to their release to the public."" The act has been widely used by journalists, scholars, political activists, and many others. In fiscal year 2005, there were 2.6 million FOIA requests filed. The government spent $300 million responding to them." More than 120 federal agencies employ one or more of the 5,03O FOIA officers."

The Cold War, then, sent mixed messages. On the one hand, it stimulated government investment in education, subsidy of libraries, and direct underwrit-

ing of publishers at home and abroad. On the other hand, it legitimated an unprecedented expansion of government classification of information while chilling free expression in the entertainment industry, schools, libraries, colleges, and universities. The Cold War promoted both an intensified concern over national`security and an intensified rhetoric of openness. The American effort to promote the "free flow of information" internationally and to sell the virtues of a free press around the globe unintentionally helped arouse more intense criticism of government secrecy at home.

The effort to present a morally superior face to the world led Americans to pay new attention to other failings, too. Washington policymakers found new incentive for fighting discrimination against African Americans as they sought to reduce the power of Soviet propaganda about American life. In the world of books as in the culture more broadly, Hitler's atrocities had already given racism a bad name. The Academy Award winner for "best picture" in 1947, Gentlemen's Agreement (adapted from a Laura Z. Hobson novel), criticized anti-Semitism. South Pacific, a 1949 Broadway musical adapted from James Michener's 1946 short-story collection, preached against prejudice in the song, "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught," and required heroine Nellie Forbush to put her racism behind her to be fulfilled in true love.

In 189o, even in 1930, respectable leaders in politics and culture could hold the United States to be an Anglo-Saxon nation. Some sought to exclude minorities from voting or from full acceptance as social equals while others advocated inclusion only on the basis of assimilation to Anglo-Saxon culture and principles. It was still possible to hold openly racist views in polite society in 1945, but much more rare by 1965, both in the population at large and in national political and cultural leadership. An inclusionary trend was as notable in publishing as anywhere. In the schoolhouse during the past generation, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and Anne Frank's Diary became curricular stalwarts.

The tensions surrounding print in the early years of the Cold War reverberated through the Vietnam era. Publication provided several of the most dramatic moments in that war, itself a decisive national trauma that weakened the Ameri- can public's conviction of U.S. moral superiority. Reporters in Vietnam grew increasingly restive with U.S. military and embassy briefings that they knew to be false. In 1969 reporter Seymour Hersh's revelations that American soldiers had massacred women and children at My Lai demonstrated that Americans were capable of atrocities. In 1971 a Department of Defense insider, Daniel Ells-berg, secretly copied thousands of pages of a confidential internal history of Vietnam war policymaking that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara had commissioned. (The photocopier that became standard business equipment in the 1950s and generated independent commercial copy shops in the 1960s helped make everyone their own publisher much more efficiently than carbon paper or earlier duplication machinery.) Ellsberg turned the documents over to the New York Times and the Times began to publish a long summary of the classified materials. The White House won a court injunction against the Times, but then the materials were surreptitiously passed along, and the next installment was published in the Washington Post; when the government won an injunction against the Post, other newspapers took up the cause.

The Culture of the Sixties

If free expression suffered during the Cold War, it also found new venues and new forums. With respect to freedom of sexual expression, formal censorship and informal restraints declined after World War II, gradually at first and then manically in the sixties. After the war, William Styron, James Jones, and Norman Mailer all were "censored" by their own publishers — something less likely to happen a generation later as the norms of expression about bodily functions and sexual practices shifted. As late as 1960, historian Kenneth Cmiel observed, "civility was, quite literally, the law of the land." The governing Supreme Court decision of Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942) excluded "lewd," "obscene," and "profane" language from First Amendment protection." This changed in the sixties, as did so much else in American culture. Michael Korda recalls that, in publishing, "Sex scenes in fiction became permissible almost overnight, as did the use of obscene expletives. . . . Arguments like those between Hemingway and Maxwell Perkins over how to suggest the use of the word fuck in dialogue without actually printing it were no longer necessary or even thinkable."' Regulations based on "time, place and manner" of print and its distribution (for instance, in zoning ordinances for adult bookstores) remain, and efforts at censorship continue. There are also customary differences across media. Children can browse through books at Barnes and Noble that use four-letter words and provide explicit descriptions of sex. The same is true on cable television, but general-circulation newspapers and broadcast television are much more constrained.

The sixties' watershed in sexual expression was more than a decline in Victorian copyediting. Larger changes were at work, probably none more important than the women's movement. In 1969, when the movement was still in its early stage, Nancy Hawley organized a study group at Emmanuel College in Boston to explore issues of women's health and sexuality. At the time, she later recalled, "there wasn't a single text written by women about women's health and sexuality. The participants named the group the Boston Women's Health Collective and took it upon themselves to create a course on women's health. Their own initial research led to a 138-page course booklet, published in 197o by the New England Free Press. Without advertising, the booldet — priced at thirty cents—quickly sold 150,000 copies. In 1973 the collective turned it into Our Bodies, Ourselves with Simon & Schuster as the publisher. The volume, still in print, kept growing through revised editions--it has been translated into seventeen languages and Braille and by 2004 had sold over 4 million copies—while the collective became a multimedia and multibook organization."

At about the same time that Our Bodies, Ourselves was launched, Judy Blume, a divorced New Jersey mother of two young children, "a suburban flop . . . and a failure at golf, tennis and cooking," as Newsweek later put it in an admiring profile, found she was a success at writing clear, engaging, affecting fiction for teens and preteens with an honesty about once taboo topics. These included menstruation, masturbation, teen sex, bodily embarrassments of puberty like wet dreams, unwanted erections, or breasts too large or too small, too early or too late." In Forever, published in 1975, Blume depicted two high school students making love—without punishment, without marrying. By 2004 Blume had published twenty-four books, almost all of them for the juvenile market, and they had sold more than 75 million copies with translations in more than twenty languages." Blume has not fared very well with either literary critics or school boards, but she all but invented the "YA problem novel," fiction for "young adults" about serious matters." Blume's fiction for teens and preteens shared with feminism a belief in a pedagogy of open and guilt-free communication.

Anxiety and Choice

Following an ongoing debate in the late 1940s and early 1950s that was capped by a Senate investigation and report in 1954, community leaders launched efforts to censor comic books. Comic books, dominated by crime and horror themes, were singled out as uniquely dangerous to youth. A leading crusader against them, psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, saw greater hope in television than in comics, in large part because adults could see, share, and supervise access to TV. Television would be part of a shared culture across generations, replacing the private underworld that comics helped create for youth culture."

The comic book crusade was one expression of anxiety over reading, but not all panics about reading centered on the dangers of print. Another fear, linked to the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union, was that children could not read at all or could not read well. Rudolph Flesch's Why Johnny Can't Read was on the best-seller list in 1955 for thirty weeks and was widely serialized in newspapers. Its critique of schools for abandoning phonics made waves in educational circles and among a wider public.' It also helped inspire William Spaulding, the director of Houghton Mifflin's education division, to sign up Theodore Geisel, a children's book author writing under the name "Dr. Seuss." Spaulding engineered an agreement in which Houghton Mifflin would publish a school edition and Geisel's own publisher, Random House, a trade edition, of The Cat in the Hat (1957). It sold a million copies by 1960, more than 7 million.

The Cold War was a component of everything in American culture in the fifties and sixties but by no means a full explanation of everything (The Cat appeared months before Sputnik shocked Americans out of scientific complacency). After all, what people read is a matter of urgent concern in a society that wears its moralism on its sleeve and that takes one's taste in reading to be a window on a person's intelligence, character, and soul. How well people read is of equal urgency in a society deeply invested in schooling as the primary pathway to social mobility, a feature of American life more central in the past half century than ever.

Other anxious cultural strains arose, particularly from the 1960s on, as religious traditionalism found itself on the defensive in relation to the seemingly inexorable advance of individualistic culture. From the Nixon-Khrushchev "kitchen debate" on through the "pro-choice" movement in supporting legalized abortion, "choice" has become a cultural and moral ideal. Whether in reference to flexibility in work life or the appeal of abundance in the entertainment marketplace, choosing became a social practice in a variety of areas where it was once relatively rare. In a 1989 survey of American religious views, 16 percent of conservative Protestants, 16 percent of mainline Protestants, and 18 percent of Catholics born between 1926 and 1935 believed church rules on morality to be too strict; for those born between 1955 and 1962, 30 percent of conservative Protestants, 34 percent of mainline Protestants, and 48 percent of Catholics assented to the same proposition." "A culture of choice and spiritual exploration prevails— both inside and outside the religious establishments," sociologist Wade Clark Roof remarks Faith, he holds, is part of a "more deliberate, engaging effort" of people to construct their own spiritual worlds, recognizing that the view they come to is one among a plurality of possibilities.'

In 1955 only 4 percent of adults reported that they had moved from the religion in which they were raised; by 1985 it was 33 percent. Data from the 1970s and 1980s indicates that about 40 percent of Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Methodists had switched denominations, and 15 percent of Jews and Catholics had adopted another faith. Twenty percent of Americans have switched two times or more, including a third of those with "some college."' With religion increasingly a matter of conscious choice, there has been a growing market for religious and spiritual literature." Religious bookstores, "new age" bookstores, and "spirituality" sections of general bookstores have all proliferated, although amid all of this novelty the average American household possesses four Bibles. That figure notwithstanding, publishers sell 25 million Bibles a year.p>

Growing numbers of people have taken on the task of inventing themselves, whether in fashioning their own spirituality or gender or ethnic or racial identity or in selecting from myriad features of consumer goods to organize a "lifestyle." Multiculturalism by the 1970s was not just an academic anthem but a social fact. With changes in immigration patterns after 1965 immigration reform, Latin American and Asian immigrants altered the face of America. In publishing, Jewish American fiction, African American fiction, and Asian American fiction came to all but define the world of serious literature; a novelist like John Updike, late in his career, was seen to be an observer of northeastern white Anglo-Saxon Protestant nature rather than of generically "American" characters. Who was bold enough to claim that there is an "American character"?

Consider the fate of the Book-of-the-Month Club, whose membership has dropped precipitously in the past decades. In the age of Amazon.com, the Internet, the greater availability of well-stocked bookstores in small cities and expanding suburbs, the Book-of-the-Month Club's mail-order business and monthly mailings came to seem "almost quaint," as the New York Times business reporter David Kirkpatrick put it. Time Inc. bought the Book-of-the-Month Club in 1977, merged with Bertelsmann's Literary Guild, and created a new mega-book club called Bookspan. While Book-of-the-Month Club still exists, the Bertelsmann group of clubs has grown by creating niche book clubs, thirty of them by 2006, including a gay and lesbian club, a Spanish-language club, an African American club, a Latino club, a large-print club, and a conservative politics club."

In a liberal, pluralistic society, publishing operates in a marketplace for displaying the wares of a wide range of authorial intentions, capacities, viewpoints, and styles. But publishing is an agency of policing as well as of expressing. It is a vehicle for the reinforcement of social norms, of political or acceptable expression, of a political, cultural, or linguistic censorship. What gets censored changes over time, as Donald Downs's chapter suggests. In the past sixty years, many restrictions on published speech have weakened—on sex, on self-revelation, on expletives, on medical terms for body parts, on explicit emotional avowal. Meanwhile, they have tightened on racial epithets, on sexist and homophobic language, and, at least in the world of the school textbook, on a wide range of other matters, under the onslaught of criticism from both the religious right and the multicultural left. Dirty words did not disappear but changed, from words of moral travesty to words or ideas of social insult or social harm. Pluralism became not just a pervasive social fact but a cultural sensitivity and sometimes even a new regime of censorship, now in the name not of religious faith but laissez-faire tolerance whose boundaries, if they exist, are not well marked."

Economic Concentration, Cross-Media Competition, and the Infrastructure of Publishing

The publishing business did not simply respond to social and political trends. It made its own changes and its own waves. The parallel themes of concentration and diversity in publishing, which run through volume 4, are even more marked for the period since 1945. The postwar years witnessed major consolidation of enterprise in magazines, newspapers, book publishing, and book retailing, accelerating in the 1980s and 1990s. It also has spawned new and influential independent publishers, as Daniel Simon and Tom McCarthy's chapter shows. Still, it is the consolidation and accounting-driven practices that, more than anything else, have made book publishing today so strange and uncomfortable to many who began in the business half a century ago. The changing economic landscape includes a proliferation of new firms, new products, new audiences; a distribution network that reaches`small cities and burgeoning suburbs once without bookstores; and, in the past two decades the emergence of an uncanny new technology that reconfigures what we even mean by author, publisher, and audience.

Publishing insiders lament that the life and passion that once animated the business and made it as much a vocation as a livelihood have been wiped out in the new economic environment. Of course, the good old days were a mixed bag, not a halcyon era. Epstein offers a charming portrait of Random House, the publisher he joined in 1958, which he describes as "an unusually happy, second family" both for its editors and for many of its leading authors. It was housed in the former Villard mansion at Madison and 58th Street, giving it the architectural as well as the social feel of home. But not every house was Random House." Epstein began his career in 1950 at Doubleday, which he remembers as a company driven by book clubs and run by "direct-mail marketers" who, he writes, "knew nothing about how books were actually conceived, gestated, and born." He did not see his fellow editors reading manuscripts but talking on the telephone or going to meetings. Doubleday inspires no nostalgia in him: among Doubleday's editors, he writes, "the more literary ones usually returned from lunch late in the afternoon, drunk.""

Publishing has operated in relation to schools, libraries, and government but also in relation to the rapidly growing market for entertainment. Leisure or recreational reading has surely been affected by television and later by videos, DVDs, computers and computer games, and of course the Internet. Studies of library circulation in the 1950s show a modest decline in towns where television was most widely distributed — and, interestingly, the decline in reading fiction was noticeably greater than the decline in nonfiction." Although the proliferation of alternative entertainment forms is recognized as tough competition for books, it also has sometimes been a force for increasing reading. Each new his version of a Jane Austen novel sends viewers back to reading Austen. And there is the force known as Oprah Winfrey, as Joan Shelley Rubin's chapter indicates in more detail. Oprah's Book Club has had a remarkable impact in bringing her television audience into bookstores.

Few features of the commercial landscape are more evident than the proliferation of chain-operated bookstores whose growth Laura Miller documents in her chapter. The well-stocked shelves of Barnes & Noble and Borders that can be found in multiple locations in cities and suburbs across the country are taken for granted now. They have driven many cherished independent bookstores out of business—but most of these existed only in a few major cities and college towns and did not serve the large majority of Americans who lived elsewhere and who now have ready access to buying books.

We insist, in the structure of this book, that for all the importance of the intense economic competition in publishing and the central role of capitalist enterprise in what gets published, promoted, and distributed, print continues to be a multiply subsidized activity. The federal government (and state and local governments, too) is a publisher. Foundations publish and, even more, underwrite authors with research grants, as does the federal government in grants to artists, authors, and scientists. Public funding of schools, higher education, and libraries has remade the world of print. Through copyright, instituted by government and sustained in the courts, a return on investment is available to authors and their publishers. In this realm, as in so many in American life, we should not mistake the centrality of the marketplace for its autonomy.

People Reading

But what do people do with books and other printed matter? In the late twentieth century, to what extent was an individual's sense of self dependent on encounters with books generally and with a set of specific texts (e.g., the "classics")? Has the reliance on print for the formation of identity changed over time? What are the changing functions of a liberal arts education, the nature of the avant-garde, or the why-Johnny-can't-read anxiety as it relates to the national image of superiority or, at a later stage, as it relates to middle class anxieties in an intensely competitive world of formal education? What has been the role of print in the counterculture and in social movements from feminism to environmentalism? What is the psychological dimension of reading (e.g., identifying with fictional characters) as young people—the astonishing worldwide Harry Potter phenomenon notwithstanding—read less fiction?' Relating broad economic and institutional trends to social and cultural experience is daunting. It is of some help with this large interpretive quandary to look at specific uses of print by specific individuals and audiences, and so the contributions in the final section of this volume anchor our account in the everyday realities of reading.

What print means to people is what matters most in this history—but it is also least accessible. One can find specific gr0ups for whom books are a passion, even an obsession, as with the collectors Robert DeMaria discusses. One may look at the people who reach out of the privacy of their homes and often isolated lives to social ties through or in close relationship to books, as with the reading groups Elizabeth Long examines. Bibles remain terribly important in American life, whether they are the Jewish Old Testament, the Christian Old and New Testaments that are at the heart of thousands of Bible study groups, the Koran for many Muslims, or, as the chapter by Trysh Travis indicates, the 1939 Alcoholics Anonym0us "Big Book" that is the textbook and source of comfort for this remarkable self-help group.

Books that the general public knows nothing about, others clutch to their bosoms. Generations of disgruntled social science students have held to C. Wright Mills's Sociological Imagination as a lifeline. In the 1970s an adoption rights movement was born, with people who had been adopted seeking to unseal adoption records and to search for their biological mothers or biological children. Florence Fisher, a housewife, began ALMA —Adoptees Liberty Movement Association—in 1971 and published The Search for Anna Fisher in 1974, her personal account. This was one of several books, passed from hand to hand, that in the next few years galvanized this small social movement." There are many other examples of print's instrumental role in building identity and community. The newly politicized, the newly engaged, the newly diagnosed, the newly divorced, bereaved, laid off, relocated, pregnant, miscarried, sleepless with young children, and many more pass on books from friend to friend or browse the self-help sections of libraries and bookstores. People are frequently, and often predictably, immigrants to new places or stages of life. In large numbers, they seek printed instructions on what the customs of the new land are and how to succeed in it.

Texting Past and Future

This volume has been long in the making; the world of print is already different from ten years ago when the editors began to share thoughts with one another. We can look back to news items we clipped eight years ago that wondered if Stephen King's self-published e-book, The Plant, was the welcome wave of the future or the announcement of doomsday. A few months bef0re that, Arthur C. Clarke published an essay online through a Silicon Valley-based digital publisher named Fatbrain.com. One could download it for a two-dollar fee. Clarke's essay sold fewer than 500 copies and was already forgotten by the time of Stephen King's venture. Fatbrain itself was acquired later in 2000 by Barnesandnoble.com. In the Internet's version of historical record keeping, if you type in www.fatbrain.com you will be taken immediately, and without explanation, to Barnesandnoble.com."

This is not to deny the obvious: as Anthony Grafton put it, "We have clearly reached a new point in the history of text production." Still, he cautions, the present excitement is "one of a number of critical moments in the long saga of our drive to accumulate, store, and retrieve information efficiently. It will result not in the infotopia that the prophets conjure up but in one in a long series of new information ecologies, all of them challenging, in which readers, writers, and producers of text have learned to survive."" The notion of an "information ecology," inelegant as the phrase may be, seems useful as we try to conceptually accommodate a vast array of interacting changes at once.

I have recently been reading through letters my father sent to my mother India and China during World War II, particularly letters on a nearly daily over several months at war's end as my father, an officer in air force intelligence waited for transport home. In 1945 my parents wrote each other daily in hand, letters whose safe passage they could not be certain about, so they numbered each of their letters to let the recipient know if some were receive of order— or not at all. They insisted that I adopt the same numbering s! in 1964 when, as a high school student, I spent a summer in India and win them several times a week on blue aerograms. We don't do this anymore. Children still learn in school to write longhand, but by middle school they are admitting term papers to their teachers online, doing PowerPoint presentation and gabbing with friends by cell phone or text message.

My father's letters are a voice from the point where this volume begin the end of World War II, when the world was very different and the future participated with hope. My teenage daughter's text messaging sixty years I though still text centered and literate, is a textual communication that le no imprint and no legacy, a textual phone call more than a digital letter. E that, it is still an encounter with reading and writing and even, after a fast spelling. In Japan, teenagers have been writing novels by texting on their phones and publishing these works in conventional book form to great an and with great profit. It is a fact of broad significance in the history of the book that "text" has become a verb—an action, a process, a means of interaction longer just the noun and the silent, stationary object we once took it to be.

And still, the noun endures. The text, in its older usages, persists. Cleat out her room a few years ago, my daughter put aside various items that resented a childhood now passed. This included a great many children's h that she had boxed up for storage but refused to give away. These books me lot to her, and she has every expectation, and hope, that they will mean so thing one day to her children. 



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