Pantheon, $26.95, 448 pp.
In a brilliant takedown of the TV series Mad Men in the New York Reivew of Books, Daniel Mendelsohn condemned what many take to be the show’s main strength: its supposed fidelity to the historical period it represents. “In Mad Men,” Mendelsohn wrote, “everyone chain-smokes, every executive starts drinking before lunch, every man is a chauvinist pig.” Mendelsohn wasn’t saying that people actually didn’t smoke that much in the 1960s (they did...
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