In a scene from an early episode of the popular American drama series Mad Men, the character Paul Kinsey warns: ‘A modern executive is a busy man. He leads a complicated life. He has family and leisure – and he’s supposed to keep all that straight.’1 The show follows the lives of a group of men and women working in the ruthless Madison Avenue advertising world during the 1960s (hence the name Mad Men) and is now well-known for its depiction of the merciless and aggressive competitiveness of the industry and its portrayal of heavy drinking and adultery – features which are said to have characterised 1960s corporate culture. Perhaps not so typical of the lives of ordinary men in Britain, the show nonetheless communicates a sense of some of the pressures facing men in a rapidly changing post-war world. The degree to which men actually succeeded in ‘keeping all that straight’ in Britain and the United States (US) during the period has recently become a topic for debate among social commentators, and academic historians.2 However, the ways in which men coped with professional and personal pressures are less well understood, and we know very little about the degree to which men suffered from emotional and psychological difficulties and how they dealt with them when they did.


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Copyright information

© Ali Haggett 2015

Open Access This Chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Haggett
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ExeterUK

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