The Magazine in America, 1741-1990

John Tebbel, Author, Mary Ellen Zuckerman, With Oxford University Press, USA $35 (448p) ISBN 978-0-19-505127-8
Tebbel, author of a one-volume history of American book publishing ( Between Covers ) here teams with Zuckerman, State University of New York marketing professor, to perform the same service for magazine publishing. In this sweeping view, the 250-year-old industry is seen as a mirror of society, where, as in physics, every action produces an equal and opposite reaction. In covering the early years, 1741-1905, the authors rely on Frank Luther Mott's out-of-print, four-volume History of Magazines in America. In later years, wars and technological advances are seen to signal major shifts, but references to the Vanity Fair of Frank Crowninshield and that of current editor Tina Brown and to the Cosmopolitan of John Bisben Walker and that of Helen Gurley Brown demonstrate how personality shapes a magazine as much as content and historical context. Some observations of the recent magazine scene, however, have been already outdated by the velocity and volume of change within the field. Although somewhat congested by anecdotal density, the book is at once a paean to magazines and an examination of their idiosyncracies. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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