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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kings of Madison Avenue: the Unofficial Guide to Mad Men

I just finished reading Kings of Madison Avenue: the Unofficial Guide to Mad Men by Jesse McLean.  I really liked this book but I think you have to be a big Mad Men fan to truly enjoy it.  However, if you've never seen the show and are a history buff, there are tons of historical details regarding events that took place in the 1960's.

This book only covers the first 2 seasons of the show and it's been on for 5 seasons now.  I've been a huge fan from the start, so this book was right up my alley.  It includes cast bios of Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks, January Jones and Robert Morse.  I knew a lot of the info about these actors already but there were some things I didn't know.

I also liked the recommended reading and viewing sections of the book, such as "The Apartment" and "Lover Come Back; plus The Feminine Mystique and Sex and The Single Girl. The author describes how Matthew Weiner (the series creator) was influenced by those books and movies. 

I really liked this book but I think you have to be a big Mad Men fan to truly enjoy it.  However, if you've never seen the show and are a history buff, there are tons of historical details regarding events that took place in the 1960's.

This book only covers the first 2 seasons of the show and it's been on for 5 seasons now.  I've been a huge fan from the start, so this book was right up my alley.  It includes cast bios of Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks, January Jones and Robert Morse.  I knew a lot of the info about these actors already but there were some things I didn't know.

I also liked the recommended reading and viewing sections of the book, such as "The Apartment" and "Lover Come Back; plus The Feminine Mystique and Sex and the Single Girl.  The author describes how Matthew Weiner (the series creator) was influenced by those books and movies.

Roger Sterling's critique of the movie "The Apartment" - "Oh, please.  A white elevator operator?  And a girl at that?  I want to work at that place."  If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it!

Some quotes from the book -

"It's Don Draper's World and we just live in it."

"Happiness is the smell of a new car.. a billboard at the side of the road screaming that everything you're doing is okay...that you are okay."

Don Draper - "I have a life and it only goes in one direction... forward."

This book includes cocktails of note that the Mad Men would be drinking. Recipes are included at the end of each section.  At the end of the book, the author gives his suggestions on "How to party like the Mad Men" and an itinerary for touring the locations highlighted in the show.

Other trivia -

Jon Hamm won the Golden Globe for Best Lead Actor but has never won the Emmy for Best Actor - incredible!  He really deserves to win every award he is nominated for! 
 
John Slattery who plays Roger Sterling so brilliantly, has stated that he has a fairly cynical sense of humor.  He directed at least one episode of the series so far.  Christina Hendricks (Joan) on Slattery: "He's got such a sense of humor and charm...that while he's saying these horrible things you can't keep your eyes off him."

Joan shows Peggy the latest in office technology, the IBM Selectric, "so easy a woman can use it."

Burt Cooper is influenced by Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged - I think he gave a copy of the book to Don to read.
 
Quote from Bobbie Barrett - "This is America.  Pick a job and then become the person who does it."

Roger Sterling's philosophy - "Do I need to remind you of the finite nature of life?"  Like the song says, enjoy yourself, it's later than you think.

Quote from Joan to Peggy, "In a couple of years, with the right moves, you'll be in the city with the rest of us.  Of course, if you really make the right moves, you'll be out in the country and you won't be going to work at all."

Quote from Don Draper - "It's your life.  You don't know how long it's going to be, but you know it's got a bad ending." And - "I have been watching my life, it's right there.  And I keep scratching at it trying to get into it... but I can't."

Creator Matt Weiner was influenced by Helen Gurley Brown's classic book, Sex and the Single Girl.  Her book lead to the popular TV shows, "That Girl" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."  Helen Gurley Brown left her hometown, moved to the big city and reinvented herself, just like Don Draper and Peggy Olson.

Quote from Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell) - "Mad Men was one of those pilots where I read it and after I was done I wanted to read it again.  There was this swagger about the script that was different from so much I had read in the last few years.  I knew it was something I could do."

This book includes cocktails of note that the Mad Men would be drinking. Recipes are included at the end of each section.  At the end of the book, the author gives his suggestions on "How to party like the Mad Men" and an itinerary for touring the locations highlighted in the show. 

I recommend this book for Mad Men fans but maybe those who haven't watched the show yet will be inspired to watch after reading it. Every season is now on DVD and the cast has recently begun filming the 6th season.  I wish I didn't have to return this book to the library as it is a good resource.  Jesse McLean has not written another book covering seasons 3 - 5 or at least my library doesn't have it.

 
Mad Men cast at the New York Stock Exchange, 2012
 

1 comment:

  1. This was a good book review, if I do say so myself!

    ReplyDelete

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