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Mindset List authors to release new book

Monday, June 24, 2013

                                      This year's annual Mindset List to be released Tuesday, Aug. 20 

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at or 608-363-2849

Do you remember Beulah the Buzzer, or the police drama that had a theme song that everybody knew as “Dum-De-Dum-Dum”? How about the losing arguments of Hamilton Burger or the cluttered closet of Fibber McGee?

Local authors Ron Nief and Tom McBride will explore these and the startling differences in the mindsets of today’s young people vs. older generations in their new book. The pair has signed a contract with Sourcebooks, one of the leading and largest independent publishers in North America, to produce the book, as yet untitled, for publication next summer.

Meanwhile, the duo's annual Mindset List will be released Tuesday, Aug. 20

The informative, entertaining tour of American culture over the last century consists of 75 short essays.  It is an affectionate look back at what was once famous, an honor roll of what every American once knew but has now largely forgotten -- or never knew in the first place. It offers insights into the once-famous people, shows, film genres, phrases, politics, and technology, extending from the A&P and Arthur Murray to “Your Hit Parade,” Watergate and the Zapruder film.

The book is an outgrowth of their first book, “The Mindset Lists of American History,” that examined the past century through the eyes of the evolving 18-year-old.

Nief notes that “our first book followed that youthful view of history at 13-year intervals from the period of our great grandparents to speculation on a generation born in 2008. Our new book takes some lost but golden oldies from that period and rescues them from oblivion. At a deeper level, it’s a droll meditation on oblivion itself. It is pure nostalgia.”

According to McBride, “At a time when college students have no idea who Charles Lindbergh was, this book, informatively and whimsically, examines the days when The Lone Ranger and Tired Blood, for instance, were equally celebrated, as heroes or maladies. A civilized country does not just forget the departed. We put up gravestones or plaques and have funerals and museums. The Lone Ranger may have Tired Blood—our way of saying that both the formerly famed masked man and the once-famous geriatric affliction are now largely forgotten—but civilization demands that we try to remember them. Therefore this must be a civilized book.”

Known internationally for the Beloit College Mindset List, released each August, Nief who is emeritus director of public affairs at Beloit College, and McBride who is Keefer Professor of the Humanities and professor of English at Beloit, published their first book in 2011. That year, they also created a patriotic concert piece based on the book, entitled “These Things We Hold Dear,” with music by Beloit Janesville Symphony Music Director Robert Tomaro.  The work will be performed in Beloit and Janesville, Wis., on Wednesday-Thursday, July 3-4 with the BJS.

Nief and McBride regularly speak around the country to a wide range of audiences.  In recent months, they have spoken to staff and scientists at NASA, offered a keynote address at the national conference of the NCAA, and addressed educators creating a curriculum in financial literacy. Their book is used in high school and college courses.

Their essay, The Digital Lectern, examining the transformation of teaching in higher education, has just been published as the introduction to a new volume on “Enhancing Instruction with Visual Media” published by IGI Global.