The Ten-Cent Plague

  • by David Hajdu
  • Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki
  • 11 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the years between World War II and the emergence of television as a mass medium, American popular culture as we know it was first created in the bold, pulpy pages of comic books. The Ten-Cent Plague explores this cultural emergence and its fierce backlash while challenging common notions of the divide between "high" and "low" art.David Hajdu reveals how comics, years before the rock-and-roll revolution, brought on a clash between postwar children and their prewar parents. Created by outsiders from the tenements, garish, shameless, and often shocking, comics became the targets of a raging generational culture divide. They were burned in public bonfires, outlawed in certain cities, and nearly destroyed by a series of televised Congressional hearings. Yet their creativity, irreverence, and suspicion of authority would have a lasting influence.

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What the Critics Say

"Every once in a while, moral panic, innuendo, and fear bubble up from the depths of our culture....David Hajdu's fascinating new book tracks one of the stranger and most significant of these episodes, now forgotten, with exactness, clarity, and serious wit." (Sean Wilentz, Professor of History, Princeton University)
"This book tells an amazing story, with thrills and chills more extreme than the workings of a comic book's imagination." (The New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very frightening

Most people believe that we live in a country where freedom of the press is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. This book, which is very well written, shows a slice of our history in which this right was removed. What was done to the comic book industry was the equivalent of Salem witch hunts. I was horrified and nauseated at the descriptions of massive comic book burnings. I had no idea that this event occurred and reminds me that we have to be ever vigilant to attempts by people who attempt to dictate what my morals and tastes should be. This book was gripping and very informative.
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- Paul "I like books that have interesting characters and easy to follow plots. For example, Cormoran Strike, is a great character for me."

As good as a novel!

What a terrific book. As a child in the fifties I vaguely remember my parents warning me about comic books. But this book tells all the background information I could have never understood.
And the birth of MAD magazine is a great bonus to the birth of all the comic creations.
How our country got so wrapped up in fearing comic books is absurd, but not surprising given the hubbub a few years back over the flash of a breast at the Super Bowl.
This book is worth every moment of time. And while I usually enjoy the narrator, his attempts to do a "Noo Yawk" accent was a little too "dese, dems, and dose" to enjoy.
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- M. S. Cohen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-18-2008
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.