Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226121277 Will Publish September 2014
An e-book edition will be published.

Packaged Pleasures

How Technology and Marketing Revolutionized Desire

Gary S. Cross and Robert N. Proctor

Packaged Pleasures
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Gary S. Cross and Robert N. Proctor

336 pages | 37 halftones, 5 line drawings, 1 table | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226121277 Will Publish September 2014
E-book $21.00 ISBN: 9780226147383 Will Publish September 2014
From the candy bar to the cigarette, records to roller coasters, a technological revolution during the last quarter of the nineteenth century precipitated a colossal shift in human consumption and sensual experience.  Food, drink, and many other consumer goods came to be mass-produced, bottled, canned, condensed, and distilled, unleashing new and intensified surges of pleasure, delight, thrill—and addiction.

In Packaged Pleasures, Gary S. Cross and Robert N. Proctor delve into an uncharted chapter of American history, shedding new light on the origins of modern consumer culture and how technologies have transformed human sensory experience.  In the space of only a few decades, junk foods, cigarettes, movies, recorded sound, and thrill rides brought about a revolution in what it means to taste, smell, see, hear, and touch.  New techniques of boxing, labeling, and tubing gave consumers virtually unlimited access to pleasures they could simply unwrap and enjoy. Manufacturers generated a seemingly endless stream of sugar-filled, high-fat foods that were delicious but detrimental to health.  Mechanically rolled cigarettes entered the market and quickly addicted millions.  And many other packaged pleasures dulled or displaced natural and social delights. Yet many of these same new technologies also offered convenient and effective medicines, unprecedented opportunities to enjoy music and the visual arts, and more hygienic, varied, and nutritious food and drink. For better or for worse, sensation became mechanized, commercialized, and, to a large extent, democratized by being made cheap and accessible. Cross and Proctor have delivered an ingeniously constructed history of consumerism and consumer technology that will make us all rethink some of our favorite things.
Peter N. Stearns, author of The Industrial Revolution in World History
“This book persuasively addresses one of the key questions in modern history: how human experience has been reshaped by mass marketing. It includes but goes beyond attention to advertising, to a fascinating exploration of technology’s impact on products and packaging, and how the result has transformed sensory response. A groundbreaking effort.”
1. The Carrot and the Candy Bar
2. Containing Civilization, Preserving the Ephemeral, Going Tubular
3. The Cigarette Story
4. Superfoods and the Engineered Origins of the Modern Sweet Tooth
5. Portable Packets of Sound: The Birth of the Phonograph and Record
6. Packaging Sight: Projections, Snapshots, and Motion Pictures
7. Packaging Fantasy: The Amusement Park as Mechanized Circus, Electric Theater, and Commercialized Spectacle
8. Pleasure on Speed and the Calibrated Life: Fast Forwarding through the Last Century
9. Red Raspberries All the Time?
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