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Music in the Age of AnxietyAmerican Music in the Fifties$
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James Wierzbicki

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040078

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040078.001.0001

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(p.199) Epilogue
Music in the Age of Anxiety

James Wierzbicki

University of Illinois Press

This concluding chapter urges readers to reflect on how American music from the Fifties is received today. Historians have described America's postwar years in various monikers: the age of doubt, the age of abundance, the proud decade, and the decade of fear. According to a 1972 article in Newsweek magazine, they were “The Fabulous Fifties,” a simple decade when “hip was hep and good was boss.” In America, the long decade of the Fifties was all of that. Even as it transpired, astute observers of human behavior noted the period's seemingly opposite trends. It can be argued that it is precisely these paradoxes—the national pride in America's wartime triumph versus a collective doubt about the nation's future directions—that gives the Fifties its special frisson.

Keywords:   American music, Fifties, postwar years, opposite trends, American pride, wartime triumph, collective doubt, human behavior

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