Yesterday: A New History of Nostalgia


Product Details

Harvard University Press
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.3 X 1.4 inches | 1.55 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Tobias Becker is an independent scholar based in Berlin who has published widely on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century cultural, intellectual and urban history. He is currently a guest professor at Freie Universität Berlin.


An elegant, original, enjoyable, and important investigation of the concept of nostalgia and its power. From Paul McCartney's 'Yesterday' to Dua Lipa's 'Future Nostalgia, ' Becker shows that the 'problem' with nostalgia has never been the peculiar ways it engages with the past. Instead, it is the way nostalgia contests assumptions about progress. After Yesterday, nostalgia really isn't what it used to be.--Ethan Kleinberg, Wesleyan University
Sha Na Na performed 'At the Hop' at Woodstock, six months to the day after the inauguration of the new law-and-order president, Richard Nixon. In his wide-ranging yet incisive book, Tobias Becker explains how two such disparate events could seem to belong to a single history of 'nostalgia.'--Peter Fritzsche, University of Illinois
With nostalgia seemingly everywhere these days, this history of the concept since the mid-twentieth century hits the spot. Its exploration of pop culture is particularly fascinating: refuting critics who see retro revivals as signs of cultural stagnation, Becker shows that nostalgia has been a source of creative inspiration since the 1960s.--Julia Sneeringer, Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center
Western cultural critics have been lamenting our loss of optimism and our obsession with the past ever since the 1970s. Why? In his lucid history of arguments about nostalgia, Tobias Becker reveals their unacknowledged clinging to the idea of progress, an idea we seem unable to overcome.--Philipp Felsch, Humboldt University of Berlin