Synopses & Reviews
In Perspectives on Modern America
, Harvard Sitkoff brings together some of the most distinguished historians of 20th-century America to survey and analyze "The American Century". These essays offer vivid end-of-the-century snapshots of our past troubles and triumphs--of the people, ideas, events, and developments that mattered most.
Each person on the impressive list of contributors--which includes such historians as William Leuchtenburg, Paul Boyer, Lizabeth Cohen, Jacqueline Jones, Sara Evans, and Charles Payne--has written a broadly interpretive essay on a key aspect of American life and how it evolved over the course of one hundred years. These eminent historians shed light on a wide range of issues including the emergence of a mass consumer society, the United States as a major power on the international scene, and the increasing flow of power to Washington and to the presidency. Here too are astute portraits of historical turning points such as the Progressive era, the Roosevelt years of the Great Depression and Second World War, the bitter battles that ravaged American society in the 1960s, and the Reagan Revolution. And there are thoughtful essays on today's rights-based liberalism and regenerative conservatism, the persistent systems of inequality and the means employed to resist oppression, the growth and decline of organized labor, and the limits of the American welfare state.
The very best historians of the 20th-century United States have gathered in this volume to help us better understand the past 100 years. Equally important, they help us mine the past for valuable perspectives on current American society and shed light on where we may be headed in the new century.
"Comprehensive and engaging, these essays offer a challenging overview of the major themes and contradiction of 20th-century American history. A valuable collection."--William Chafe, Duke University
"This is a rare and wonderful anthology. Fifteen scholars at the top of their craft do more than provide, in vigorous prose, a splendid introduction to America's last century. Broad and empathetic, their essays also help us confront the hopes and tragedies of the new one."--Michael Kazin, Georgetown University
In Perspectives on Modern America: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century, Harvard Sitkoff brings together some of America's most distinguished scholars to survey and analyze the twentieth century. The impressive list of contributors includes Paul Boyer, Lizabeth Cohen, Sara M. Evans, Jacqueline Jones, William E. Leuchtenburg, and Charles Payne. Each contributor has written a broadly interpretive essay on a key aspect of American life and how it has changed over the past one hundred years, offering vivid end-of-the-century snapshots of our past troubles and triumphs-of the people, ideas, events, and developments that mattered most. The essays address a wide range of political, social, and economic issues including the history of liberalism and conservatism; the labor movement and the distribution of wealth; immigration and ethnicity; the status of women and African Americans; changes in the South and the West; consumer culture; the federal government; foreign policy; religion; and American cultural and intellectual life. The book includes astute portraits of such historical turning points as the Progressive era, the Great Depression and Second World War, American society in the 1960s, and the Reagan revolution. It also includes thoughtful essays on the growth and decline of organized labor, the limits of the American welfare state, the persistent systems of inequality, and the means employed to resist oppression. Offering a challenging and enlightening assessment of the past one hundred years, Perspectives on Modern America: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century is an essential text for undergraduates in twentieth-century American history and will also appeal to general readers.
About the Author
is Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author or editor of a number of books on American history, including A History of Our Time
(with William Chafe), A New Deal for Blacks, The Struggle for Black Equality
, and Fifty Years Later: The New Deal Evaluated
. He lives in Newmarket, New Hampshire.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Harvard Sitkoff
1. The Twentieth-Century Presidency: William E. Leuchtenburg
2. Piety and Property: Conservatism and Right-Wing Movements in the Twentieth Century: Lisa McGirr
3. Twentieth-Century Liberalisms: Transformations of an Ideology: Cheryl Greenberg
4. The Republic as Empire: American Foreign Policy in the "American Century": Robert J. McMahon
5. Work Places: The Economy and the Changing Landscape of Labor, 1900-2000: Kevin Boyle
6. The History and Politics of Poverty in Twentieth-Century America: Jacqueline Jones
7. Citizens and Consumers in the Century of Mass Consumption: Lizabeth Cohen
8. American Women in the Twentieth Century: Sara M. Evans
9. "You duh Man!": African Americans in the Twentieth Century: Charles Payne
10. From the Benighted South to the Sunbelt: The South in the Twentieth Century: Nancy MacLean
11. Democracy, Citizenship, and Race: The West in the Twentieth Century: Peggy Pascoe
12. The Chameleon with Nine Lives: American Religion in the Twentieth Century: Paul Boyer
13. Immigration and Ethnicity in the American Century: Gary Gerstle
14. The Iron Cage and Its Alternatives in Twentieth-Century American Thought: Jackson Lears