Grand Expectations The United States, 1945-1974

ISBN-10: 0195117972
ISBN-13: 9780195117974
Edition: 10th 1997
List price: $27.95 Buy it from $3.99
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Description: Beginning in 1945, America rocketed through a quarter-century of extraordinary economic growth, experiencing an amazing boom that soared to unimaginable heights in the 1960s. At one point, in the late 1940s, American workers produced 57 percent of  More...

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Book details

List price: $27.95
Edition: 10th
Copyright year: 1997
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/20/1997
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 880
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 2.00" tall
Weight: 2.508
Language: English

Beginning in 1945, America rocketed through a quarter-century of extraordinary economic growth, experiencing an amazing boom that soared to unimaginable heights in the 1960s. At one point, in the late 1940s, American workers produced 57 percent of the planet's steel, 62 percent of the oil, 80 percent of the automobiles. The U.S. then had three-fourths of the world's gold supplies. English Prime Minister Edward Heath later said that the United States in the post-War era enjoyed "the greatest prosperity the world has ever known." It was a boom that produced a national euphoria, a buoyant time of grand expectations and an unprecedented faith in our government, in our leaders, and in the American dream--an optimistic spirit which would be shaken by events in the '60s and '70s, and particularly by the Vietnam War. Now, in Grand Expectations, James T. Patterson has written a magisterial work that weaves the major political, cultural, and economic events of the period into a superb portrait of America from 1945 through Watergate. Here is an era teeming with memorable events--from the bloody campaigns in Korea and the bitterness surrounding McCarthyism to the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, to the Vietnam War, Watergate, and Nixon's resignation. Patterson excels at portraying the amazing growth after World War II--the great building boom epitomized by Levittown (the largest such development in history) and the baby boom (which exploded literally nine months after V-J Day)--as well as the resultant buoyancy of spirit reflected in everything from streamlined toasters, to big, flashy cars, to the soaring, butterfly roof of TWA's airline terminal in New York. And he shows how this upbeat, can-do mood spurred grander and grander expectations as the era progressed. Of course, not all Americans shared in this economic growth, and an important thread running through the book is an informed and gripping depiction of the civil rights movement--from the electrifying Brown v. Board of Education decision, to the violent confrontations in Little Rock, Birmingham, and Selma, to the landmark civil rights acts of 1964 and 1965. Patterson also shows how the Vietnam War--which provoked LBJ's growing credibility gap, vast defense spending that dangerously unsettled the economy, and increasingly angry protests--and a growing rights revolution (including demands by women, Hispanics, the poor, Native Americans, and gays) triggered a backlash that widened hidden rifts in our society, rifts that divided along racial, class, and generational lines. And by Nixon's resignation, we find a national mood in stark contrast to the grand expectations of ten years earlier, one in which faith in our leaders and in the attainability of the American dream was greatly shaken. Grand Expectations is the newest volume in the prestigious Oxford History of the United States. The earlier releases were highly acclaimed, and one, Battle Cry of Freedom, was both a New York Times bestseller and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Patterson's volume takes its rightful place beside these distinguished works. It is a brilliant summation of the years that created the America that we know today, a time of unmatched achievements and devastating tragedies.

James T. Patterson is an American historian, and Ford Foundation Professor of History emeritus at Brown University. He wrote "Grand Expectations: the United States, 1945-1974," which received the 1997 Bancroft Prize in American history. (The Bancroft prize is one of the most prestigious honors a book of history can received and was established at Columbia University in 1948. It's considered to be on par with the Pulitzer Prize because an anonymous jury of peers judges it.) "Grand Expectations" is an interpretation of the explosive growth, high expectations and unusual optimism that Americans experienced after World War II that went into the 1960's. It follows the social, economic and cultural trends, and foreign policy issues, which became less optimistic after the assassinations, the Vietnam War and Watergate.

Editor's Introduction
Prologue: August 1945
Veterans, Ethnics, Blacks, Women
Unions, Liberals, and the State: Stalemate
Booms
Grand Expectations About the World
Hardening of the Cold War, 1945-1948
Domestic Politics: Truman's First Term
Red Scares Abroad and at Home
Korea
Ike
World Affairs, 1953-1956
The Biggest Boom Yet
Mass Consumer Culture
Race
A Center Holds, More or Less, 1957-1960
The Polarized Sixties: An Overview
The New Frontier at Home
JFK and the World
Lyndon Johnson and American Liberalism
A Great Society and the Rise of Rights-Consciousness
Escalation in Vietnam
Rights, Polarization, and Backlash, 1966-1967
The Most Turbulent Year: 1968
Rancor and Richard Nixon
Nixon, Vietnam, and The World, 1969-1974
End of an Era? Expectations amid Watergate and Recession
Bibliographical Essay
Index

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