Monday, August 4, 2014

Review: The Mindset List of the Obscure 74 Famously Forgotten American Icons from A to Z by Tom McBride, Ron Nief

Today’s teens and twentysomethings have never seen a real airplane ticket. To them, point-and-shoot cameras are so last millennium and “Star Wars” is a movie, not a defense strategy. The world views of today’s young and old have never been more different.
In this entertaining romp through American culture, the creators of the globally acclaimed Beloit College Mindset List explore 75 icons once-famous and now forgotten—from Abbott and Costello to the singing telegram. Packed with entertaining facts, trivia, and photos, this is the perfect gift for college students, their oh-so-outdated parents, and pop culture mavens nostalgic for days gone by.

If you're up for a trip down memory lane, or want to learn more about your parent's generation, this book is for you.

In The Mindset List of the Obscure 74 Famously Forgotten American Icons from A to Z, readers learn about various American icons and phrases, as well as how these people and concepts compare or would fare against today's world.

Usually, with nonfiction books, the layout and presentation of materials tend to make even the best material boring and monotonous after awhile. Thankfully, this book has excellent layout and idea organization so, for the most part, the topics remain interesting.

As someone in her late 20's, there were at least a few things here that I recognized, like "bathtub gin" and "in like Flynn". Most of the stuff discussed, though, were pretty new to me.

Aside from the brief background of the subjects, I liked the comparison between then and now as it helps relate our current time and experiences with those people back in the day.

However, I think the part showing an example of sentence usage was unnecessary, even if they were usually funny.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the e-ARC. Publication date of The Mindset List of the Obscure 74 Famously Forgotten American Icons from A to Z is on September 1, 2014.


  1. It covers a lot of topics.
  2. The layout and organization keeps things interesting.
  3. The tone is conversational and easy to understand. 


  1. There were some parts that felt unnecessary. 

Some stores actually had faux crystal chandeliers to help you find the green beans (fresh or canned but not yet frozen), and you could buy your forty-five-cent can of one pound Eight O'Clock coffee from a checkout lady in a seersucker dress sitting in a checkout stand shaped to resemble a pagoda. 

  1. You're feeling nostalgic.
  2. Your parents like mentioning things and people from the good ole days.
  3. You're curious about past American cultural icons and phrases. 



Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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