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The history of consumption is a prism through which many aspects of social and political life may be viewed. The essays in this collection represent a variety of approaches and raise such themes as consumption and democracy, the development of a global economy, the role of the state, the centrality of consumption to Cold War politics, the importance of the Second World War as a historical divide, the language of consumption, the contexts of locality, race, ethnicity, gender, and class, and the environmental consequences of twentieth-century consumer society. They explore the role of the historian as social, political, and moral critic. Unlike other studies of twentieth-century consumption, this book provides international comparisons.