Synopses & Reviews
A compelling look at the movements and developments that propelled America to world dominance
In this landmark work, acclaimed historian Joshua Freeman has created an epic portrait of a nation both galvanized by change and driven by conflict. Beginning in 1945, the economic juggernaut awakened by World War II transformed a country once defined by its regional character into a uniform and cohesive power and set the stage for the United States’ rise to global dominance. Meanwhile, Freeman locates the profound tragedy that has shaped the path of American civic life, unfolding how the civil rights and labor movements worked for decades to enlarge the rights of millions of Americans, only to watch power ultimately slip from individual citizens to private corporations. Moving through McCarthyism and Vietnam, from the Great Society to Morning in America, Joshua Freeman’s sweeping story of a nation’s rise reveals forces at play that will continue to affect the future role of American influence and might in the greater world.
"Queens College and CUNY Graduate Center history professor Freeman examines a postwar dominant America, and it couldn't come at a better moment, when its citizens are rethinking its global influence. Covering the glory years of 1945 2000, Freeman is at his best when he turns his critical eye on America's turbulent internal affairs, delving into Truman's contested Fair Deal reforms, the McCarthy communist witch-hunts, Eisenhower's cautious civil rights record, LBJ's ambitious Great Society programs, Nixon's Watergate disgrace, the return of 'corporate capitalism' and Reagan conservatism. Freeman deals with the Clinton administration's economic policies, which, he says, gave many Americans a higher standard of living, and global conflicts, followed by the Republican victory in 2000. Though at its peak, America's power exceeded that of the Roman and British empires in cultural, economic, military, and political terms, the nation's postwar dreams were never completely fulfilled, says Freeman. 'And the 21st century's 'prolonged warfare, fearfulness, and economic troubles... owe more than a little to decisions made in the earlier epoch.' Freeman's epic survey provides a fuller understanding of America's postwar achievements and challenges, without the bias, drama, or despair of other books on these important issues." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A landmark history of postwar America and the second volume in the Penguin History of the United States series
In this momentous work, acclaimed labor historian Joshua B. Freeman presents an epic portrait of the United States in the latter half of the twentieth century, revealing a nation galvanized by change even as conflict seethed within its borders. Beginning in 1945, he charts the astounding rise of the labor movement and its pitched struggle with the bastions of American capitalism in the 1940s and '50s, untangling the complicated threads between the workers’ agenda and that of the civil rights and women’s movements. Through the lens of civil rights, the Cold War struggle, and the labor movement, American Empire
teaches us something profound about our past while illuminating the issues that continue to animate American political discourse today.
About the Author
Eric Foner is DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. A winner of the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates, Foner is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the British Academy. He has served terms as President of both the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians. He is also author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Fiery Trial.