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American Dreams: The United States Since 1945

H.W. Brands.
Publisher Penguin  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.45 x 1.25 inches
ISBN 9781594202629
Pages/Publication Date 421/2010
Daedalus Item Code 36260
This item is not available.
For a brief, bright moment in 1945, America stood at its apex, looking back on victory not only against the Axis powers but also against the Great Depression, and looking ahead to seemingly limitless power and promise. Here the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalists Traitor to His Class and The First American surveys what we've done with that power and promise over the past six decades. H.W. Brands first shows us a country dramatically different from our own—more unequal in social terms but more equal economically, more religious and rural but also more liberal and more wholeheartedly engaged with the rest of the world. Along with the well-known highs and lows of America's story, from Apollo 11 to 9/11, Brands underscores the less obvious significance of such events as the immigration reforms of the 1960s, which gradually transformed American society; the vast impact of abandoning the gold standard in 1971, which enabled both globalization and the current financial crisis; and the unnerving results of CNN's debut in 1979, which sped up the news cycle and permanently changed our foreign policy by putting its effects live on our TV screens.

"A comprehensible presentation of our country's major political and cultural changes since 1945. The national confidence and social unity of that year, compared with present cultural antagonisms and political polarity, bracket Brands' presentation of cold war foreign policy; the civil rights movement; LBJ's escalation in Vietnam and expansion of the welfare state; the collapse of liberalism and rise of conservatism; and American history's directions since 1989. In all this, the baby boomers loom influential in Brands' historical appreciation, which weaves in their upbringing in unprecedented prosperity; their questioning of parental attitudes; and their coming to power in the Bill Clinton years. Because his accounts of such social trends are interwoven with those about presidencies up to Barack Obama, Brands delivers a history well modulated for readers seeking an introduction to American history of their living memory."—Booklist

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