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Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the '60s and Beyond Hardcover – Feb 28 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (Feb. 28 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312640234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312640231
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 14.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #168,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being a huge fan of the series Mad Men, I thought it would be fascinating to get a women's point of view from someone who has actually lived it. This book will NOT disappoint. It is a quick and easy read with some eye-openers and insights into Madison Avenue from a women's perspective. It also describes signifcant attitudes toward working women in the 60s. Well worth the read, especially if you are fascinated by the infancy of the world of advertising.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 109 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
hard to believe but very, very true Dec 14 2011
By Dr. Cathy Goodwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Over the years I've read a number of books about advertising, including those by Jane Trahey and Jane Maas. Today's it's hard to believe the world Maas evokes, where account executives were mistaken for secretaries and women humbly accepted lower pay for the same (or superior) work.

If you're old enough to remember, the book will evoke painful memories. I remember talking to women who calmly acknowledged they were paid less for their work but at least they got a foot in the door. "Do women hold those jobs?" was a common question all through the 1970s and even early 1980s.

Maas brings back those times with wit and convincing detail. I'm not sure how younger women will resonate with the book. I had trouble putting it down.

For a visual equivalent, buy or rent the movie, The Best of Everything, by Rona Jaffe, and stay for the writer's comments. Not only did these women put up with inequality, they did so while wearing uncomfortable suits with "hose and heels." Some wore girdles. Panyhouse appeared in the very late 1960s and weren't popular till the 1970s.

A good book for your favorite Mad Men fan or anyone who likes to study advertising.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Mad Women- Not All That Mad Dec 7 2011
By Kindred - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
When I was a little girl watching Bewitched, I decided that one day I was going to own my own advertising agency. I could write copy and storyboard concepts that Darrin couldn't begin to imagine. Oh yes, I would be a generally awesome business person (with a fabulous London Fog trench coat with matching umbrella, but I digress). Then I grew up. Life got in the way, not to mention being told many times that I sure did have big dreams for such a little girl... I happened to be in my twenties at the time.

So, I was happy to read a memoir written by a woman who managed to succeed where I stumbled. Not only that, she did it a decade earlier than my attempts. I looked forward to hearing about the process, the battles, the hits and misses. Well, I got a few. The author went at this project focused on comparing her experiences to the TV show Madmen. Unfortunately for me I haven't been watching Madmen. Fortunately for me it seems that the writers follow the basic trope of standardized TV characterization so I could follow along fairly easily.

But I was expecting more. Yes, there was sex and drinking and even (gasp!) cigarette smoking. And those of us of a certain age aren't going to be shocked by the chauvinism here. I doubt any of us came through that era unscathed but frankly, Ms. Maas got through less scathed than the `average girl'. That's probably not a popular opinion, but I call `em as I see `em. And she does freely admit that she would not have survived without her housekeeper/nanny/all around extra family member who was with the family for many years. Not to mention her husband who supported her in all the best connotations of the word.

The last portion of this slim collection does deal with the myth that women can have it all. You can as long as you have plenty of help, understanding employers, and don't mind a heaping helping of daily guilt.

Maybe in another fifty years women will find a way to have it all. But for now, if you feel as if you're the only one drowning, you should read this and breathe a sigh of relief. Just make it a short sigh; dinner's not going to make itself.
Yet.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The Real Deal March 3 2012
By Steven Lance - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Forget "Mad Men," Jane's book is The Real Deal. She names names. She tells it like we all knew it really was. Shame on us for our neanderthal attitude towards women - and brava to brave women like Jane who were willing to play by rules that worked for her - while accepting (but still challenging) the realities of The Boys Club.

It was people like Jane who inspired me to go into advertising - and people like her who taught me to be a mensch. Maybe not as quickly as I should have, but the end result is that I honestly believe I'm a better person for it. Advertising as a business is generally on the cutting edge of market trends...and as women rose to their rightful place at the table (side-by-side and sometimes above) their male peers, it was our industry that was one of the few to break the glass ceiling.

If you've never been inside advertising, this is a must-read. The true story of what it was like in the era of Mad Men. If you were (or are) in advertising, you'll love the honesty, integrity and heartfelt walk down memory lane.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The perfect companion to Mad Men March 22 2012
By Diane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
If you want to get in the mood for the return of Mad Men this Sunday, pick up a copy of Jane Maas' memoir of life on Madison Ave. in the 1960s. She is a real-life Peggy Olson, who worked her way up the ladder from copywriter to creative director to eventually owner of her own advertising agency.

Maas worked for advertising guru David Ogilvy at his agency, and her descriptions of life on Madison Avenue-the constant cigarette smoking, drinking at work and office sex- validate the writers of Mad Men. She has some amusing anecdotes, but as one of the few working mothers at Ogilvy, her observations about working when most of the other moms stayed home with their children are informative. Her older daughter, four years senior to the younger daughter, recalled all the things her mother missed, but the younger daughter was proud to have a working mom.

Jane's husband Michael was an enlightened man who fully supported his wife's career. And then there is Mabel, the woman who lived with the family during the week and cared for the children and the household. Without Mabel, Jane would not have been able to have a career. What did working mothers who did not have the money to afford a caretaker do back then? Daycare was not an option.

Maas interviewed other women who worked in advertising to get their observations. One thing I found interesting was that at one agency, when the women got promoted from secretary to copywriter, they started wearing their hats in the office- all day. It was "a badge. It proclaimed that you were no longer a secretary." The male copywriters had their own private dining room, but the women couldn't eat there. They were served lunch at their desks by their secretaries. And they ate with their hats on.

Maas was a key person on one of the most successful advertising campaigns ever, the I Love New York campaign. I found this section of the book utterly fascinating. Maas worked closely with Governor Hugh Carey, and he was so impressed with her work, he asked her to plan his wedding, although she had never done anything like that before.

Leona Helmsley, the so-called Queen of Mean, offers to back Maas in an agency of her own, and that turns out to be a big mistake. Helmsley offers to introduce Maas to her important friends and to help make her agency a huge success, but in the end, she treated Maas as poorly as she treated most people who worked for her. Helmsley is larger-than-life and not in a good way. Let's just say everything you have ever heard about her is true and then some.

Mad Women is a fabulous look at what it was like to work in a mostly-male domain of advertising in the 1960s. Maas is a terrific writer, and being a copywriter, she knows how to say a lot with a few words, and make those few words have a punch. It's the perfect book to get you in the mood for the start of season five of Mad Men.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HISTORY, AN "F". MEMOIR-WRITING, AN "A" March 15 2012
By Tom Messner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Page 136. "Lemon" was not the first DDB Volkswagen ad as Mrs. Maas purports. But "Lemon" was clearly the advertising headline of the century. The first DDB VW ad was "Think small" in which the Beetle was not pictured at the bottom of the ad in the Maas description, but rather in the top left. But ironies of ironies for a book that purports to lioness-ize ad women of the 60s, Mrs. Maas misses the fact that the headline "Lemon" was written by a woman, Rita Selden.
But after flunking history, Jane Maas does deliver a great memoir of an educated woman married to a successful architect in mid-century who raises two children
while succeedlng as a copywriter at two very successful agencies with very competitive atmospheres: Ogilyy and Wells Rich Greene. The most affecting story she tells actually is the relationship between her, her family, and the nanny she hired who herself comes out as a great heroine of the Mad Women Era along with Jane.
This is a quick read and as a companion piece to Andrew Cracknall's history of the period, works and is worth the time.

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