Calder, Lendol 1958–
Calder, Lendol 1958–
(Lendol Glen Calder)
Born November 19, 1958, in Beaumont, TX; son of Leslie and Arvella Calder; married Kathy Knight, 1990; children: two. Education: University of Texas, B.A., 1980; University of Chicago, M.A., 1986, Ph.D., 1993.
University of Washington, Seattle, assistant professor, 1992-93; Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, assistant professor, 1993-96; Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, assistant professor, 1996-2002, associate professor of history, 2002—.
American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, American Association of Higher Education, Phi Beta Kappa.
Charles Kennedy Award, Economic and Business History Society, 1996; fellowship, Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 1999.
Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1999.
Calder's book was also published in Chinese.
Lendol Calder is the author of Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit. Dubbing the work "an antidote to modern-day jeremiads that criticize easily duped consumers and omnipotent business elites," Historian contributor Jonathan Silva explained of Calder's thesis that "consumers used debt to manage the transition from an older, producer culture to an emerging culture of abundance." Calling the work "splendid and long-overdue," Rowena Olegario added in Business History Review that Financing the American Dream "casts doubt on … myths that have been fundamental to Americans' view of the past and of themselves."
Divided into three sections, Financing the American Dream recounts the historical roots of the reliance of twentieth-century Americans on consumer credit, beginning his examination in the early 1800s and extending it through the 1930s. "He makes the obvious historical point," noted reviewer Harold Perkin in the Times Literary Supplement, "that people have always bought on credit, by borrowing from banks, loan sharks, pawnshops and the like, but that this was, until … [the twentieth] century, somewhat shamefaced and reluctant." During the 1920s, Calder writes, the promotion of installment payment plans to America's growing middle class by the automobile industry changed how Americans viewed credit, and for the rest of the century credit became an avenue through which millions of Americans passed in their quest to live the good life.
Critics were generally positive in their assessment of Financing the American Dream. Library Journal contributor Susan C. Awe called the work a "fascinating but scholarly examination of America's love affair with consumerism and consumer debt." James B. Twitchell commented in Reason that, though the work is based on Calder's doctoral dissertation, it "reads like a work of seasoned scholarship." Robin Klay in Christian Century observed: "Beautifully written and well documented, Calder's book shows an unusually keen knowledge of economic institutions and a respectful insight into the financial decisions and dilemmas of ordinary Americans."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, June, 2000, Stephanie Coontz, review of Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit, p. 937.
Booklist, March 15, 1999, David Rouse, review of Financing the American Dream, p. 1265.
Business History Review, winter, 1999, Rowena Olegario, review of Financing the American Dream, p. 743.
Christian Century, June 30, 1999, Robin Klay, review of Financing the American Dream, p. 686.
Historian, fall, 2000, Jonathan Silva, review of Financing the American Dream, p. 138.
Journal of American History, September, 2000, Regina Lee Blaszczyk, review of Financing the American Dream, p. 692.
Library Journal, March 15, 1999, Susan C. Awe, review of Financing the American Dream, p. 88.
Publishers Weekly, March 29, 1999, review of Financing the American Dream, p. 83.
Reason, November, 1999, James B. Twitchell, review of Financing the American Dream, p. 60.
Times Literary Supplement, December 31, 1999, Harold Perkin, review of Financing the American Dream, p. 10.