Sunday, January 22, 2012

Monsters in America

Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting
By W. Scott Poole

Imprint: Baylor University Press
Hardback, 295 pages $29.95
Published: 15th October 2011
ISBN: 9781602583146
Format: 9in x 6in
24 b/w illustrations
Subjects: Cultural Studies, History, American History

About the Book:
Salem witches, frontier wilderness beasts, freak show oddities, alien invasions, Freddie Krueger. From our colonial past to the present, the monster in all its various forms has been a staple of American culture. A masterful survey of our grim and often disturbing past, Monsters in America uniquely brings together history and culture studies to expose the dark obsessions that have helped create our national identity.

Monsters are not just fears of the individual psyche, historian Scott Poole explains, but are concoctions of the public imagination, reactions to cultural influences, social change, and historical events. Conflicting anxieties about race, class, gender, sexuality, religious beliefs, science, and politics manifest as haunting beings among the populace. From Victorian-era mad scientists to modern-day serial killers, new monsters appear as American society evolves, paralleling fluctuating challenges to the cultural status quo. Consulting newspaper accounts, archival materials, personal papers, comic books, films, and oral histories, Poole adroitly illustrates how the creation of the monstrous "other" not only reflects society's fears but shapes actual historical behavior and becomes a cultural reminder of inhuman acts.

Monsters in America is now online at Visit the new website for more about the book, upcoming events, and to keep up with Scott Poole's blog.
Introduction: The Bloody Chords of Memory
1. Monstrous Beginnings
2. Goth Americana
3. Weird Science
4. Alien Invasions
5. Deviant Bodies
6. Haunted Houses
7. Undead Americans

Author Biography:
W. Scott Poole grew up in love with monsters. Now a tenured professor of American History at the College of Charleston, South Carolina, he teaches popular courses on America and its monsters as well as on the image of the Devil in religion and popular culture. He is the author of several books including Satan in America: The Devil We Know and is a regular contributor to, an international magazine of cultural criticism.