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The Power of the Zoot:

Youth Culture and Resistance during World War II

Paperback (336 pages)
They embraced popular culture to oppose accepted modes of youthful behavior, the dominance of white middle-class norms, and expectations from within their own communities.

The Power of the Zoot:

Flamboyant zoot suit culture, with its ties to fashion, jazz and swing music, jitterbug and Lindy Hop dancing, unique patterns of speech, and even risqué experimentation with gender and sexuality, captivated the country's youth in the 1940s.

The Power of the Zoot is the first book to give national consideration to this famous phenomenon. Providing a new history of youth culture based on rare, in-depth interviews with former zoot-suiters, Luis Alvarez explores race, region, and the politics of culture in urban America during World War II. He argues that Mexican American and African American youths, along with many nisei and white youths, used popular culture to oppose accepted modes of youthful behavior, the dominance of white middle-class norms, and expectations from within their own communities.

The Zoot Suit Riots...

Related Scanning WWII links...

  • 13 Jan 43: "Sleepy Lagoon" trial verdicts becomes precursor to the Zoot Suit Riots.
  • 31 May 43: Day 1 of 9 of the Los Angeles Zoot Suit Riots.
  • 03 Jun 43: Day 4 of 9 of the Los Angeles Zoot Suit Riots.
  • 07 Jun 43: Day 8 of 9 of the Los Angeles Zoot Suit Riots.
  • 16 Jun 43: Eleanor Roosevelt comments in her newspaper column on the Zoot Suit Riots.
  • 21 Jun 43: California looks for Nazi subversion in riots, but finds none.

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