“This isn’t a spaceship,” says Don Draper of a Kodak slide projector at the end of Mad Men’s first season. “It’s a time machine.” Similarly, the image you see below isn’t an advertisement for Matt Zoller Seitz’s new book Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion; it’s actually the cover of the book itself. A thing like that!
Here’s the official publisher’s synopsis:
Mad Men spun inventive storytelling, rich characterization, and symbol-laden gamesmanship into an entrancing puzzle. Its drama follows the life of Donald Draper, a brilliant but deeply damaged Madison Avenue adman. Its story spans March 1960 through November 1970, refracting the lives of Don’s home and work families, as well as American history, through his broken soul.
What did it all mean?
Mad Men Carousel will keep viewers company as they try to answer that question for themselves. This book collects all of bestselling author Matt Zoller Seitz’s celebrated Mad Men writing for the first time, including never-before-published essays on the show’s first three seasons. Seitz’s work digs deep into the show’s themes, performances, and filmmaking, examining complex and sometimes confounding aspects of the show. All seven seasons and ninety-two episodes are covered.
Each episode review also includes brief explanations of locations, events, consumer products, and scientific advancements that are important to the characters, such as P.J. Clarke’s restaurant and the old Penn Station; the inventions of the birth control pill, the Xerox machine, and the Apollo landing module; the release of the Beatles’ Revolver and the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds; and all the wars, protests, assassinations, and murders that cast a bloody pall over a chaotic decade.
Mad Men Carousel is named after an iconic moment from the show’s first-season finale, “The Wheel,” wherein Don delivers an unforgettable pitch for a new slide projector that’s centered on the idea of nostalgia: “the pain from an old wound.” This book will sooth the most ardent Mad Men fan’s nostalgia for the show. New fans, who will want to binge-watch their way through one of the most popular TV shows in recent memory, will find an episode-by-episode guide to accompany their viewing experience. Longtime fans of Mad Men or of Seitz’s writing will discover an engaging, thoughtful, and entertaining companion to one of the most multilayered and mercurial TV shows of all time.