The Noir Forties -- The American People from Victory to Cold War by Richard Lingeman, Nation Books '12, $29.99, 420 pages, ASIN #1568584369. Index, notes, no bibliography, b&w images sprinkled through text.
To the Gay Nineties and the Roaring Twenties, we can now add the Noir Forties, thanks to biographer/historian Richard Lingeman. Actually, no mood or characterization could typify the 1940s as a whole in America: The nation began the decade in a world war for survival, ended the war in mid-decade with unparalleled prosperity due largely to deferred spending during wartime, and ended the decade at the beginning of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation.
From the dust jacket:
"In The Noir Forties Richard Lingeman, one of our finest cultural historians, vividly recreates the momentous years between VJ Day and the beginning of the Korean War. In a mixture of memoir and history, he describes the attitudes, sentiments, hopes and fears, prejudices, behavior, and collective dreams and nightmares of the times, as reflected in the media, popular culture, political movements, and opinion polls.
"It was a time when the fears and anxieties, prejudices and sadness suppressed during the national war effort re-emerged. It was also one of the most fecund moments in American culture, when noir films and literature articulated resistance to the hardening Cold War consensus."
Richard Lingeman is senior editor of the Nation and a biographer, historian, and satirist. He spent nine years at the New York Times Book Review as an editor and daily reviewer. He has written nine previous books.
Forbes Road -- Love, War, and Revenge on the Pennsylvania Frontier -- a novel of Pontiac's rebellion by Robert J. Shade, Sunshine Hill Press '12 paperback, $17.99, 475 pages, ASIN #0615590179.
A brief excerpt from Forbes Road:
"It is 1763. The French and Indian War is over. But the tribes of the Ohio County, under a charismatic leader named Pontiac, have united in bloody rebellion against their new British rulers and the relentless waves of European settlers who threaten their way of life.
"Young Wend Eckert, German by birth and Scots-Irish by adoption, marches as a scout with the British Army to find the dazzling English girl who was his first love and is now the captive of a Mingo War Chief. He must help Colonel Henry Bouquet of the Royal Americans guide an expedition along Forbes Road, the wilderness trail which connects Fort Pitt with Eastern Pennsylvania, in a desperate attempt to save hundreds of settlers besieged in the fort.
"Then a distraction appears in the form of an enchanting Scots girl who is the darling of a highland regiment but has eyes only for the young colonial scout. The war and the youth's future will hang in the balance at a place called Bushy Run where the ragtag British battalion and a massive force of tribal warriors battle for control of the Ohio Country."
Robert J. Shade is a retired military officer who lives on a farm in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains.