Cold war modernists documents how the cia the state department and private cultural diplomats transformed modernist art and literature into pro western propaganda during the first decade of the cold war drawing on interviews previously unknown archival materials and the stories of such figures and institutions as william faulkner stephen . The end of the eisenhower era then largely marks the end of the cold war modernist project the kennedy administration did not abandon art and literature as tools of cultural diplomacy but its focus shifted away from unidirectional informational programs to contacts between individual citizens. European intellectuals of the 1950s dismissed american culture as nothing more than cowboy movies and the a bomb in response american cultural diplomats tried to show that the united states had something to offer beyond military might and commercial exploitation through literary magazines . These interrelated programs of cultural diplomacy barnhisel shows enacted numerous underlying tensions regarding the politics of american art and its role in cold war rhetorical culture including the relationships between american values and cultural artifacts and how artistic forms can be strategically politicized and depoliticized. Greg barnhisels latest book cold war modernists gives that question a richly researched and intricate answer one with important implications for our understanding of the history of modernisms reception and endurance in midcentury american and european culture if we have come to talk about modernisms arc over the course of the twentieth
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