What do Madonna, Ray Charles, Mount Rushmore, suburbia, the banjo, and the Ford Mustang have in common? Whether we adore, ignore, or deplore them, they all influence our culture, and color the way America is perceived by the world. This A-to-Z collection of essays explores more than one hundred people, places, and phenomena that have taken on iconic status in American culture. The scholars and writers whose thoughts are gathered in this unique three-volume set examine these icons through a diverse array of perspectives and fields of expertise. Ranging from the Alamo to Muhammad Ali, from John Wayne to the zipper, this selection of American icons represents essential elements of our culture, including law, art, food, religion, and science. Featuring more than 100 illustrations, this work will serve as a unique resource for students of American history and culture. The interdisciplinary scholars in this work examine what it means when something is labeled as an "icon." What common features do the people, places, and things we deem to be iconic share? To begin with, an icon generates strong responses in people, it often stands for a group of values (John Wayne), it reflects forces of its time, it can be reshaped or extended by imitation, and it often breaks down barriers between various segments of American culture, such as those that exist between white and black America, or between high and low art. The essays contained in this set examine all these aspects of American icons from a variety of perspectives and through a lively range of rhetoric styles. Among the icons examined here are:
The Alamo Barbie Ray Charles James Dean Ford Mustang Jimi Hendrix Las Vegas Madonna McDonald's Peanuts Route 66 Superman Viagra Wal-Mart Oprah Winfrey.