“an illuminating study of how earnest American idealists responded to patterns of consumption and levels of abundance” by “an intelligent and perceptive critic” in “a fine book, clearly written, carefully researches, and full of interesting insights.”
DAVID SHI, Reviews in American History
Horowitz’s work “underscores the importance of the myriad ways that the audience reinterpreted (and misinterpreted) the messages sent by advertisers. His book marks a major advance in the study of consumer culture.”
T.J. JACKSON LEARS, Journal of American History
“Vance Packard & American Social Criticism combines a perceptive intellectual biography with an evocative exploration of larger issues in American life over the twentieth century. It is a model study, fitting Packard into his times and outlining the limits of his ideas while making dear connections with broader currents of American thought and culture.”
CHARLES McGOVERN, Journal of American History
“With rich resources … Horowitz casts a critical but sympathetic eye on his subject. He offers a wealth of insight into twentieth-century journalism, homegrown American liberalism, and the role of the popular intellectual.”
JOANNE MEYEROWITZ, American Historical Review
Betty Friedan and the Making of The Feminine Mystique: The American Left, The Cold War, Modern Feminism (1998)
Horowitz’s book . . . is intellectual history at its best, rich and varied in its sources and meticulously documented.Horowitz’s book ultimately challenges its readers to renegotiate their understandings of feminist activism. It shows how important is the historical political intersection of race, class, and gender and opens a dialogue on how they shape current political choices and possibilities for feminism.
JEAN CALTERONE WILLIAMS, Radical History Review
Daniel Horowitz’s exciting new book was an especially difficult one to write. Rebuffed by a subject who had covered up a large part of her past . . . Horowitz forged ahead, basing his biography of Betty Friedan on her writings and her papers. . . The result is an impressive contribution to the historical literature of second-wave feminism.
DENNIS DESLIPPE, Australasian Journal of American Studies
Horowitz’s engaging, well-told story is a landmark contribution to our understanding of both Betty Friedan and the origins of the modern women’s movement.
Times Literary Supplement
To his great credit, Daniel Horowitz, who has labored long in the archives, has produced a fascinating, even riveting account of how the legacy of one generation of women of the American left ended up influencing and shaping a generation of New Left women. It is a vital story, and a story well told.
RUTH ROSEN, Dissent
The Anxieties of Affluence represents by far the most important study we have of the relationship between American intellectuals and the modern consumerist way of life.
DANIEL J. SINGAL, Modern Intellectual History
Horowitz’s book is a far-ranging, insightful, and important work. It provides a persuasive framework within which to understand the domestic American experience in the Cold War era. It explains how the emergence of the postwar consumer society shaped not only the ways in which Americans lived but also how they made sense of their world. . . . It even shows how central certain books were to energizing social movements, in the process highlighting the numerous connections between the world of ideas and the world of action. This is, quite simply, intellectual history at its best.
KATHLEEN DONOHUE, American Historical Review.
Magisterial, well-researched, and carefully researched volume. . . . The Anxieties of Affluence is an essential book for social scientists and students of American culture, built on notable clarity that is achieved at the expense of needless repetition.
MICHAEL KAMMEN, History: Review of New Books
Horowitz makes surprising and usually illuminating choices in tracing a developing set of ideas. Throughout, he is a well-informed, generally reliable, and often-incisive guide…. Horowitz has produced a lively exploration, subtly argued and critically acute. His footnotes are a generous guide to his vast research. I thought I knew this material well, yet I emerged with a long list of articles and books to read and ideas to consider.
ROBERT VANDERLAN, Journal of American History
The book under review is the third that Daniel Horowitz has published on consumer culture in the United States, and it both is and isn’t useful to think of it as part of a trilogy, along with The Morality of Spending: Attitudes Toward the Consumer Society in America, 1875-1940 (1985) and The Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939-1979(2004). One reason in favor of doing so is simply that it puts Horowitz’s efforts into perspective: Horowitz has produced an achievement in many ways on par with Richard Slotkin’s dense and sweeping trio chronicling the place of the West in the American imagination, one of the very few other instances of such sustained scholarly diligence.
ANDREW SEAL, U.S. Intellectual History Blog
Which brings us back at last to Horowitz’s central subject, popular culture and its meanings, but also indicates what a crowded and noisy field his book has walked onto, a field on which several different contests are being played out at once, fast and furious. For that very reason, Horowitz’s timing actually could not have been more opportune, since his studied detachment offers a refreshing contrast, and an invitation to step back from the heated debates among more engaged parties to take a longer, cooler, and more reflective view of the matter. His study is not an overheated account of movements and manifestos, or the striking of yet another ironic and knowing pose, but a stately succession of books and authors, intellectual history in the grand manner, even if addressing a subject that is, by definition, un-grand.
WILFRED McCLAY, Modern Intellectual History