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If You Like Mad Men...

Updated: January 20, 2017

Whether you watch AMC's Mad Men for the fashion, the characters, the history, or the writing, these books will sweep you up in the world of 1960s New York, from Madison Avenue to the suburbs.

Kazan, Elia.
Eddie Anderson is a successful Greek American advertising executive living in Los Angeles until his complicated love life and other upheavals lead to a nervous breakdown.

Pitzulo, Carrie.
Call Number: 051 P722Pi
During the 1960s, Playboy magazine came under fire by feminists over what was considered to be the publication's sexist attitude toward women in presenting them only as sexual objects. Gloria Steinem's undercover stint as a Playboy Bunny, and resulting article, fueled the criticism. Pitzulo's analysis of Hefner's magazine challenges that criticism, and she delves into the publication's ground-breaking articles on economic, social and political issues that were regularly featured. She convincingly puts the kibosh on the old line that men buy the magazine only to read the articles. In fact many men bought the magazine for the pictures and the articles. In much the same way that Helen Gurley Brown presented conflicting ideals, in word and image, about the lives of women and men, so did Hefner. Both of them proved to be brilliant business people and instinctively knew their publications were the product and the PR roled into one.

Scanlon, Jennifer, 1958-
Call Number: 051.092 B878Sc
Believe it or not, Cosmopolitan was a little-read literary magazine until Helen Gurley Brown took the helm in 1965. The former ad agency secretary and copywriter styled herself both as an adventurous sexpot who manipulated the boys' game to suit herself, and as a hard-working career girl, hoping to get to the corner office by virtue of her brains. Though HGB's ideas about sexual politics and femininity are not exactly uncontroversial, Scanlon's book makes a case for her influence as a second wave feminist.

Jaffe, Rona.
Don Draper is actually seen reading this one during a first season episode. The 1958 book, a forerunner of Sex and the City if there ever was one, centers around the lives of five young women working in a New York City publishing house, and their struggles for love, happiness, fame, and a ticket out of the typing pool.

Kidd, Chip.
In the first chapter, our narrator admits that "majoring in Art at the state university appealed to me because I have always hated Art, and I had a hunch that if any school would treat the subject with the proper disdain, it would be one that was run by the government." He quickly falls in with a bad crowd of rebels and troublemakers, and finds himself enrolled in Introduction to Commercial Art with a crotchety yet charismatic instructor who introduces him to the world of graphic design. You can almost imagine our hero graduating and going to work in the Art Department at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce with his newly honed aesthetic.

Cheever, John.
Cheever may be the literary patron saint of Mad Men, and nowhere is that more clear than in Bullet Park, a novel about a suburban chemist named Eliot Nailles who discovers that he's lost control of his life. When Paul Hammer, Nailles's opposite in every way, moves to Bullet Park, the clash between the two leads to catastrophe.

Ogilvy, David, 1911-1999.
Call Number: 659.092 O34 2004
Do you aspire to become a first rate ad (wo)man? Learn from the best! The legendary ad man who was behind famous campaigns for American Express, Rolls Royce, Dove Soap, and C.F. Hathaway shares his secrets in this volume first published in 1963. Topics include how to get and keep clients, write good copy, manage an agency, and make a memorable television commercial.

Goldman, Kevin.
Call Number: 659.092 S112Go
Fast forward from the 1960s fictitious Mad Men to the 1970s real life ad men of Saatchi & Saatchi, and the television drama pales by comparison. This is a rags-to-riches tale of two immigrant brothers in London, their intrepid rise to power and wealth, and the ensuing collapse of their company. More than a tale of a powerful advertising agency with its owners need for more of everything, this proves to be a cautionary example of what would follow in other industries with wild mergers, acquisitions, consolidations,and hidden and misused money leading to ruin.

Yates, Richard, 1926-1992.
Call Number: Ed.a
"Neither of the Grimes sisters would have a happy life, and looking back it always seemed that the trouble began with their parents' divorce." So begins Yates's masterful novel about two equally doomed sisters, one who dreams of being a wife and mother, one who dreams of being an independent career girl.

Bryant, Janie.
Call Number: 746.5 B9148
Whether you prefer those jewel-tone Joan dresses, Peggy's prim yet kicky office wear, or the tailored shirtwaists and pastel frocks in Betty's closet, Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant will have you accessorizing like a 1960s style icon in no time.

Tobias, Andrew P.
Call Number: 668.52092 R454To

Fire and ice is a great description of the life and times of Charles Revson, and comes from one of the all time successful cosmetics campaigns for nail polish and matching lipstick--created by the man himself.  The poor kid who made good in the cosmetics industry, was driven, excessive, and had it all--yachts, a high-end New York life style, numerous wives and children, with good doses of personal tragedy thrown in. Revson went after what he wanted in business and succeeded. Harness the raw drive and ambition with an innate sense of showmanship, and Revson was entrepreneur and adman rolled into one. 

Della Femina, Jerry.
Call Number: 659 D357 2010
Jerry Della Femina got his big break in advertising as a junior copywriter in 1961. Six years later, he opened his own agency and has been a heavy hitter in advertising ever since. His 1970 book was one of the inspirations for Mad Men. Does the show get it right? According to Matthew Weiner, Jerry says, "You're not even close. It was so much worse than what you're seeing on the show."

Seitz, Matt Zoller,
Call Number: 809.2954 M178Se

New York magazine's TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz explains what Mad Men, the TV series, was all about and its true meaning. This is a collection of all his articles about the show, each episode and all seasons.

Newman, Stephanie, Dr.
Call Number: 809.2954 M178Ne

If you would like to know what makes the characters on Mad Men tick, then Dr. Stephanie Newman can deliver the analysis. Don, Betty, Pete, Peggy, and other characters get some time on the couch, and all within the sociological/cultural/economic context of the 1960s.

Vargas-Cooper, Natasha.
Call Number: 809.2954 M178Va
From the Rothko painting in Bert Cooper's office to the story behind the Lucky Strike and Maidenform ads to the underworld of Greenwich Village junkies in the 1960s, Natasha Vargas-Cooper provides the inside scoop on all those historical details that keep us watching.

Maas, Jane.
Call Number: 659.092 M111-1
Find out what life was like for a female Madison Avenue advertising executive in the 1960s and 1970s in this tell-all account. Maas got her start at the legendary Ogilvy & Mather, and rose through the ranks to become a creative director and agency officer. She dishes plenty about the sex and boozing, but also writes frankly about workplace inequalities, sexism, and the other challenges that women in the advertising world faced.

Wilson, Sloan, 1920-2003.
Call Number: Ed.a
Tom Rath is the fictionalized incarnation of William H. Whyte's "organization man," a veteran who enters the corporate rat race, and falls into the dreary paces of that world. And like Don Draper, there's a big secret lingering in his past that he fears will destroy his fragile, and really not-so-happy suburban family life.

Whyte, William Hollingsworth.
Call Number: 301.5 W629 2002
Whyte observed the phenomenon of the "organization man" while studying the CEOs of major corporations in postwar America. The organization man was well-rounded, unexceptional, fit in well with others, had a home in the suburbs, and a horror of appearing elite, intellectual, or of calling attention to himself in any way. First published in 1956, Whyte's study of changes in corporate culture and conformity challenged ideas of rugged American individualism and was massively influential.

Fraterrigo, Elizabeth.
Call Number: 051 P722Fa

Fraterrigo weaves sociological aspects and influences into this analysis of the Playboy lifestyle which has had widespread influence on postwar American culture.

Updike, John.
Call Number: Ed.c
In high school, Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, was a basketball star. Now, he's a young father in crisis, unsure about the decisions he's made and the course his life is taking. He makes a spur of the moment decision to abandon his family, and learns that "if you have the guts to be yourself other people'll pay your price."

Yates, Richard, 1926-1992.
Call Number: Ed.b
The misery of suburban life and unfulfilled dreams has been done many times, but rarely so well as Yates's bleak and affecting novel about Frank and April Wheeler, the original Don and Betty.

Brown, Helen Gurley.
Call Number: 177 B878-1 2004
First published in 1964, this manual of dubious advice by writer, Cosmopolitan editor, and bad girl about town Helen Gurley Brown covers potential minefields like the office party, getting credit for your ideas, drinking on the job ("Should you or shouldn't you keep a bottle in your desk drawer? Oh come on, you're a big girl!") and navigating an affair with your married co-worker. Best of all are HGB's tips for a "sexy office," including this nugget: "The ashtray on my desk says 'I'm sexy' in six languages all around its rim. I'm sure you can find one just as interesting."

Gelman, Judy, 1962-
Call Number: 641.54 G319

The authors have picked up on the atmosphere of the TV show, and researched the haunts, dives, bars and high-end eateries of the time period. They provide history, context, and recipes which are interfiled with summaries of Mad Men episodes.  Our eating tastes have come a long way--some of the recipes are not at all appealing.