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Review of: Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles, by Eric Avila
Western Historical Quarterly
  • Kevin Allen Leonard, Western Washington University
Document Type
Book Review
Publication Date

Eric Avila's ambitious and engaging Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight argues that a "new 'new mass culture'" emerged in the United States in the years following the Second World War. The "new mass culture" of the nineteenth century reflected the development of modern, industrial cities; this "new 'new mass culture"' mirrored the development of a new, post-industrial, suburban society. In this new culture, cities represented sites of decay and danger occupied by dark-skinned criminals. Suburbs, on the other hand, represented sites of order and safety inhabited by homogeneous groups of "white" people. As this new culture replaced an older culture, new theme parks such as Disneyland replaced old amusement parks such as those at Coney Island, new baseball parks such as Los Angeles's Dodger Stadium replaced old parks such as Brooklyn's Ebbets Field, and freeways replaced streetcars. The dramatic suburban­ization of the Los Angeles region after World War II makes it the ideal venue in which to explore the contours of this new culture. Avila analyzes a number of Hollywood films, Disneyland, Dodger Stadium, and Southern California's freeways to reveal how a suburban white identity formed in the region.

Subjects - Topical (LCSH)
Popular culture--California--Los Angeles--History--20th century; Whites--Race identity--California--Los Angeles; Suburban life--California--Los Angeles--History--20th century; African Americans--California--Los Angeles--Social conditions--20th century
Subjects - Names (LCNAF)
Avila, Eric, 1968-. Popular culture in the age of white flight
Geographic Coverage
Los Angeles (Calif.)
reviews (documents)
Citation Information
Kevin Allen Leonard. "Review of: Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles, by Eric Avila" Western Historical Quarterly Vol. 37 Iss. 1 (2006) p. 81 - 82
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