Cold War Modernists: Art, Literature, and American Cultural Diplomacy

Greg Barnhisel (Author)

Product Details

Columbia University Press
Publish Date
February 24, 2015
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.4 inches | 1.3 pounds

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About the Author

Greg Barnhisel teaches in the English department at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. His previous books include James Laughlin, New Directions, and the Remaking of Ezra Pound and, with Catherine Turner, Pressing the Fight: Print, Propaganda, and the Cold War.


This is a thoroughly excellent book, a magnum opus of genuine scholarship, and a genuine delight for readers.--Lawrence Rainey, University of York
This book fills a long-felt need for a scholarly work on the importance of U.S. cultural exchange with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe during the Cold War.--Yale Richmond, Foreign Service Officer, retired, and former Counselor for Press and Culture in the American Embassy in Moscow
Conceptually sophisticated, thoroughly researched, and lucidly written, Greg Barnhisel's important new study combines an assured grasp of historical context with sensitive readings of artworks and literary texts to illuminate previously obscure aspects of the 'Cultural Cold War.'--Hugh Wilford, author of The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America and America's Great Game: The CIA's Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East.
Deftly working across genres, Barnhisel mobilizes rich archival sources to show not only the accommodation of modernism to anti-Communism but also the entanglement of the highbrow and the middlebrow. In that way, this lively, fascinating book contributes to the histories of both cultural diplomacy and cultural hierarchy.--Joan Shelley Rubin, author of Cultural Considerations: Essays on Readers, Writers, and Musicians in Postwar America
[A] groundbreaking book.--Steve Donoghue "Open Letters Monthly "
Making good use of archival sources, Mr. Barnhisel provides an engaging and informative survey.--Glenn Altschuler "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "
A welcome addition to the scholarship on modernism after the Second World War.--Lise Jaillant "Textual Practice "
Greg Barnhisel's Cold War Modernists charts impeccably the transformation of twentieth-century modernism from abrasive (European) avant-garde to a stylistic iconography of Western (American) freedom.... It is one of those commendable books that invites you to revisit what has already been said and makes you realize that the established story, up till now, was lacking.--Giles Scott-Smith "Diplomatic History "
Barnhisel's book will rightly become the go-to reference for critics and historians of the Cultural Cold War.... Cold War Modernists focus on the arts-adjacent institutions that filter literary and artistic value provides a new way to think about how and why modernism has had such a lasting legacy in the 20th century.--Donal Harris "Los Angeles Review of Books "
Coherently organized, superbly researched, and judiciously balanced.--Stephen J. Whitfield "Journal of Cold War Studies "
Barnhisel's book has a good deal to teach historians of the Cold War located outside art and literature departments.... He sifts through dozens of unpublished primary sources and writes with narrative drive as well as learned, enlivening wit.--William J. Maxwell "Journal of American History "
The greatest merits of this work are its grand scope, clear argument, and impressive archival research; the writing is crisp, witty, and accessible.... [An] outstanding book.... [Cold War Modernists] deserves wide readership. There is no denying that Barnhisel has contributed to our collective understanding of modernism and its role in Cold War cultural diplomacy.--Andrew J. Falk "The American Historical Review "
A refreshing contribution to scholarship on the so-called cultural Cold War.... Cold War Modernists displays a literary critic's sensitivity to rhetorical nuance combined with an intellectual historian's grasp of cultural, social and political contexts. It is written with style, assurance and at times with wit.--Jason Harding "Literature & History "
[Cold War Modernists] is an impressive achievement, based on extensive archival research, a close reading of the most important secondary literature, and some key interviews.--Dr. John H. Brown "American Diplomacy "
In Cold War Modernists, Greg Barnhisel has contributed generously and decisively to midcentury cultural and political history, to the story of modernism's afterlife, and to our capacity to understand how that afterlife includes us still.--Kamran Javadizadeh "Modernism/modernity "
Cold War Modernists makes a valuable addition to the grown literature on the cultural aspects of the Cold War. Thoroughly researched and written in a compact and readable style, it is a work that sets itself a viable task and accomplishes it.--Souciant
An exquisite, intricate, and satisfying study.... Essential.--Choice
Elegant and richly researched--Against the Current
This is a well-researched book with appropriate illustrations and an excellent selection of notes. It is a much needed addition to the growing works on US cultural diplomacy and will have particular appeal to pop culture scholars in art, literature, and the performing arts.--Journal of American Culture
An important source for scholars and students of Cold War culture. The account it offers of cultural diplomacy in the Truman and Eisenhower years is both thorough and illuminating, offering a rich new account of a story we thought to be familiar.--Will Norman "Review of English Studies "