The Dream Life

Movies, Media, and the Mythology of the Sixties

A brilliant cultural history detailing the fascinating relationship between movies and American society in the 1960s

“‘Movie critic’ is a misnomer. J. Hoberman is simply the best historian of that hallucinatory decade when politics imitated celluloid and movies invaded reality. Cultural history doesn’t get any better—or scarier—than this.” —Mike Davis

In what the New York Times’s A.O. Scott called a “suave, scholarly tour de force,” J. Hoberman delivers a brilliant and witty look at the decade when politics and pop culture became one.

This was the era of the Missile Gap and the Space Race, the Black and Sexual Revolutions, the Vietnam War and Watergate—as well as the tele-saturation of the American market and the advent of Pop art. In “elegant, epigrammatic prose,” as Scott put it, Hoberman moves from the political histories of movies to the theater of wars, national political campaigns, and pop culture events.

With entertaining reinterpretations of key Hollywood movies (such as Bonnie and Clyde, The Wild Bunch, and Shampoo), and meditations on personages from Che Guevara, John Wayne, and Patty Hearst to Jane Fonda, Ronald Reagan, and Dirty Harry, Hoberman reconstructs the hidden political history of 1960s cinema and the formation of America’s mass-mediated politics.


“One of the most vital cultural histories I’ve ever read. Hoberman’s deceptively easygoing yet deliriously compacted prose threads history through movie lore through McLuhanesque media criticism. . . . An extraordinary publishing event.”
—David Edelstein, Slate
“Nobody in America writes as well about culture and film as J. Hoberman.”
—Peter Biskind
“So invigorating that I had to ration myself to a chapter a week.”
—John Patterson, The Guardian
“Packs a salient and unique wallop.”
Publishers Weekly

Books by J. Hoberman

Make My Day
Movie Culture in the Age of Reagan

J. Hoberman

An Army of Phantoms
American Movies and the Making of the Cold War

J. Hoberman

Goodreads Reviews