Synopses & Reviews
The story of this one remarkable year will air as a three-hour documentary on The American Experience in November 1998. In January 1, 1900, as Americans tried to divine the future of the twentieth century, what no one could foresee was that the issues they were dealing with were much the same as those that would face their grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the year 2000. Change had come so fast that there was an almost magical belief in the powers of science and technology. The country had never been more prosperous but the disparity between rich and poor had never been greater. Slavery was dead but racism was growing. The narrative begins New Year's Day in Washington, D.C., as President McKinley shrugs off warnings that his life may be in danger. Never far from the seat of power is Theodore Roosevelt, "the coming American of the twentieth century." Throughout the year, as Crichton details one event after the other--the greatest mine disaster in American history; the banning of a salacious play; an historic election campaign; the Galveston flood; the Harvard-Yale football game; a great labor victory; the emergence of the first billion-dollar corporation--the forces of the future are moving into place.
"With a novelist's instinct for character and story, an abundance of colorful anecdotes, and an eye for delicious detail, Crichton has produced an extraordinary chronicle of an extraordinary year." (Doris Kearns Goodwin)
*"A popular history of the very best sort, combining rich prose with striking photographs to summon up the shades of the past and give their story a tingling immediacy that shrinks time." (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
"This is a vivid, thoughtful portrait, thoroughly researched and enlivened throughout by Judy Crichton's expert use of detail. Here is America when everything was popping, a year full of surprise and heartbreak and great drama." (David McCullough)
America 1900 is a sweeping narrative that follows an eclectic group of men and women over the course of one pivotal year. As it happened, the issues they were dealing with are surprisingly similar to those their grandchildren and great-grandchildren face in the year 2000. Change had come so fast that there was an almost magical belief in the powers of science and technology. The country had never been more prosperous, but the gap between rich and poor had never been greater. And the soaring sense of optimism most Americans felt was severely tested by wars abroad and dissension at home.
About the Author
Judy Crichton has won awards for her writing and her journalism, including the George Foster Peabody Award, the duPont Columbia Award, and the Writers Guild Award. Crichton was executive producer of PBS's The American Experience from its inception in 1987 through its ninth season. She lives in New York City.