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Age of Betrayal: The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900

by

Age of Betrayal: The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900 Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A brilliant reconsideration of the Gilded Age in America, when an oligarchy of wealth triumphed over democracy, when dreams of freedom and equality died of their impossibility. Jay Gould, the “Mephisto of Wall Street,” never runs for office, but he rules. This was his time (and John D. Rockefeller’s and Andrew Carnegie’s), and this was his country.

At the end of the Civil War, with the rebellion put down and slavery ended, America belonged to Lincoln’s “plain people.” But “government of the people” and economic democracy were betrayed by political parties that fanned memories of the war to distract Americans from government of the corporation.

Synthesizing the research of a new generation of scholars, Jack Beatty gives us a fresh look at the “revolution from above” of industrialization that forged modern America. In Age of Betrayal, Supreme Court justices turn the Fourteenth Amendment’s promise of “equal protection of the laws” to the freed slave into the shield of the corporate “person.” The presidents of the Pennsylvania and Southern Pacific railroads engage in a bidding war for congressmen. A depression brought on by railroad speculation throws millions out of work, the hungry riot for bread in Buffalo, the homeless sleep on Chicago’s streets, “tramps” are arrested, strikers are shot, and the nation’s presidents avert their eyes.

In the 1890s the Populist revolt from below challenges the revolution from above. Entrepreneurial capitalism ends in the early 1900s, as 1,800 giant firms are compacted into 157 behemoths.God instructs President McKinley to invade Cuba and seize the Philippines from Spain; turning from liberators to occupiers, U.S. troops slaughter and starve the (Roman Catholic) Filipinos in the name of “Christianizing” them. In perpetrating this “infamy,” William James cries out, “We have puked up our traditions”—revealing how these sordid decades had remade us.

A passionate, gripping, often shocking history of wealth over commonwealth—thirty-five years of American history in which we see the reflection of today’s gilded age.

Review:

"'Having redeemed democracy in the Civil War,' laments Jack Beatty, 'America betrayed it in the Gilded Age.'

These opening words neatly capture the premise and promise of 'Age of Betrayal,' an ambitious and politically charged work that spans far more terrain than its subtitle suggests. The redemption, of course, is the demise of American slavery. The betrayal, however, is the rise of... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Book News Annotation:

A senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly, Beatty tells how, having redeemed democracy during the Civil War, America betrayed it during the Gilded Age. That time, he says, saw the birth of the plutocracy and inequality that rules the country a century later. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Age of Betrayal is a brilliant reconsideration of America's first Gilded Age, when war-born dreams of freedom and democracy died of their impossibility. Focusing on the alliance between government and railroads forged by bribes and campaign contributions, Jack Beatty details the corruption of American political culture that, in the words of Rutherford B. Hayes, transformed “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people” into “a government by the corporations, of the corporations, and for the corporations.” A passionate, gripping, scandalous and sorrowing history of the triumph of wealth over commonwealth.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jack Beatty is a senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly and news analyst for On Point, a National Public Radio news and public affairs program. He is the author of The Rascal King, winner of an American Book Award, as well as the editor of Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America. He lives in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400040285
Subtitle:
The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900
Author:
Beatty, Jack
Publisher:
Knopf
Subject:
History
Subject:
Capitalism
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
United States - Reconstruction Period (1865-1877)
Subject:
United States - 19th Century/Gilded Age
Subject:
Economic History
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20070410
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
28 ILLUSTRATIONS IN TEXT
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
9.44x6.62x1.67 in. 1.78 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Business » History and Biographies
History and Social Science » US History » 1860 to 1920

Age of Betrayal: The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900 Used Hardcover
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Product details 512 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9781400040285 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Age of Betrayal is a brilliant reconsideration of America's first Gilded Age, when war-born dreams of freedom and democracy died of their impossibility. Focusing on the alliance between government and railroads forged by bribes and campaign contributions, Jack Beatty details the corruption of American political culture that, in the words of Rutherford B. Hayes, transformed “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people” into “a government by the corporations, of the corporations, and for the corporations.” A passionate, gripping, scandalous and sorrowing history of the triumph of wealth over commonwealth.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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