Mad Men Unbuttoned

Mad Men Unbuttoned

A Romp Through 1960s America

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
A journalist and obsessive fan of television's Mad Men analyzes and discusses the context and social history of cultural artifacts featured in the show that capture the historical themes of the mid-century, including ads, paintings, politics and social mores. Original. 45,000 first printing.


Mad Men Unbuttoned is a visually arresting celebration of the cultural and artistic ephemera of the 1960s advertising age, the Mad Men era. Based on the popular blog, Mad Men Unbuttoned “nails the 1960s and the ad industry during this fascinating era,” and is “a good, fast, joyful read.” (Nina DiSesa, Chairman, McCann New York).

& Taylor

Analyzes and discusses the context and social history of cultural artifacts featured in the show that capture the historical themes of the mid-century, including ads, paintings, politics and social mores.

Publisher: New York : Collins Design, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061991004
Branch Call Number: 791.4575 M26Z, V426m
Characteristics: xix, 231 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 23 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

oatmeal_crispy Aug 18, 2018

In [Mad Men Unbuttoned], Natasha Vargas-Cooper, and her contributors, examined the 1960s of AMC’s award-winning period TV drama [Mad Men] (2007–2015) with entertaining zest, style, interesting facts, and quotability.
 Vargas-Cooper’s exploration of [Mad Men] and the 1960s began with a question, What was [Mad Men] about? This was her concise answer:
 “It’s about the culture clash and contradictions that occurred during the twilight of the Eisenhower era, the great societal shake-up of the 1960s, and how that pressurized time in history formed modern America, its families, its consciousness, and its consumers (xi).”
 The articles and profiles in this book provide an overview of early-to mid-1960s as a transformational decade in American life and times, advertising, women in the workplace, sex and sexual mores, divorce, drug use and abuse, decor, literature, film, and [Mad Men] as a means to explore these changes.
 I can quote from Vargas-Cooper’s book all day, though it was published in 2010 and only covered the show up to the end of Season 3, with a season finale set in December 1963.
 Here’s my favourite passage, that begins on page 203:
      The desire to ignore the individual and achieve the universal was not unique to the
      modern era, however. Two hundred-years prior, painter Sir Joshua Reynolds, and
      author Samuel Johnson proselytized that true art needed to present the general,
      not the specific; the elevated, not the localized. They believed it was the artist’s
      responsibility to correct and compensate for man’s imperfection. The artistic milieu
      at the time considered the depictions of rural peasants and craggy rocks too garish,
      if not outright vulgar.
            But unlike Reynolds and Johnson, who labored to elevate their subject to a kind
      of platonic ideal, the avant-garde of modern artists moved away from the actual and
      individual, not by elevating their subject but by obliterating it, leaving behind only
      emotion and viscera (Vargas-Cooper, 203–204).

 So too did [Mad Men] deconstruct the 1960s.
      This device isn't a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards... it
      takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the wheel, it’s called the
      carousel. It let’s us travel the way a child travels—around and around, and back
      home again, to a place where we know are loved.
                                              —Don Draper, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce

madame_librarian Dec 16, 2010

Ok, I admit it--I'm hooked on the TV series Mad Men. The Emmy-winning show offers a look back to what my life was like. Well, only in my imagination. Actually, I was just a pre-teenager, had never even been near New York city, was never, ever going to be able to fill out a dress like Joanie, and nobody I knew drank martinis. Let's just say I wished my life was that glamorous having not yet had my consciousness raised as far as attitudes towards women were concerned. In her sharply written, savvy overview of the era, Vargas-Cooper gives fans of the show the footnotes that flesh out the zeitgeist, and she delivers them with a surprising amount of depth.

She introduces us to the real "mad men" behind the show's characters; explains the aesthetic principles and trends of the fashions and décor; and reveals the evolution of the ads themselves and how various campaigns were developed. She also explores the shifting times and the looming collision of the Brooks Brothers suits with the torn jeans and ragged t-shirts that is alluded to in some episodes. Having grown up during that period, and having been both a preppie co-ed and hippie protestor, I love stuff about the 60s. Throw in my 15-year career in advertising, albeit in Chicago not New York, and you can understand why I get such a kick out of the show. Having this book as a companion to the show just increased my enjoyment. For those who lived through it and those whose parents did, here is a great choice for those who wish to delve into this fascinating era.

In a wonderful instance of synchronicity, my daily calendar offered this quote on the very day I finished the book: "Whoever controls the media--the images--controls the culture." Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), poet, activist, outspoken critic of the Establishment, member of the New York Beats in the late 50s and early 60s. How apt.--Madame Librarian


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Northern Indiana Database Cluster

To Top