The American century /
by Harold Evans with Gail Buckland and Kevin Baker.
1st ed.
New York : Knopf, 1998.
xxiii, 710 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
More Details
New York : Knopf, 1998.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 667-689) and index.
A Look Inside
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1998-06:
President and publisher at Random House until a year ago, when he became editorial director of the Daily News, U.S. News and World Report, and the Atlantic Monthly, Britisher Evans has probably been here long enough to write this chronicle of U.S. dominance in this century. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1998-09-14:
The principal author of this very fine and handsome popular history is the editorial director of the New York Daily News, Atlantic Monthly and U.S. News & World Report, and former president and publisher of the Random House Trade Group. Evans was born in Britain and moved to America only in 1984, so his retelling of the American story from 1889 to 1989 bears the refreshing stamp of a non-American sensibility, with some surprising focuses among the hundreds found in the textÄEisenhower's engineering of coups in Guatemala and Iran, for example. Evans employs a tolerant, skeptical, dispassionate tone that makes for consistently absorbing reading, but what elevates his book above the (also laudable) The Century, by Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster (reviewed above) is Evans's intellectual acuity, as exemplified in his strong thesis, which views the century as one concerned with, primarily, the struggle for democracy, both within the country and without. Evans's treatment of relations among the American racesÄnot just black/white but all racesÄand of the labor movement is particularly impressive, full and candid. The organization of the book is user-friendly. Each chapter begins with a commentary that sets out the theme of the chapter and is followed by a series of two-page spreads touching on different aspects of the era. The photosÄ900, but none in color as in the Jennings/BrewsterÄare evocative and telling, and there are some seldom-seen gems among them, such as a photo of Ho Chi Minh at the Versailles peace conference in 1919. Like the Jennings/Brewster, this is a book more for browsing than for serious study, reminiscent of, though less weighty than, Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States. Both this book and the Jennings/Brewster are admirable productions, but readers looking for the deeper, more unexpected text will find it here, while for pure visual splendor the Jennings takes the prize. First serial to U.S News & World Report; BOMC alternate; History Book Club main selection. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review Quotes
"Written in the liveliest historical prose I have come across in a long while...[illustrated with] a gallery of images, striking in its variety and pungency, representative without being hackneyed" --David S. Reynolds, N.Y. Times Book Review "This is history to enjoy, engagingly written, splendidly illustrated" --Neil Sheehan, author of A Bright and Shining Lie "In a style at once trenchant and easygoing, Harold Evans leads us on a walk through the century now drawing to a close, taking us back over ground that far too many of us have let slip from our memories" --Shelby Foote, author of The Civil War "An astute, evocative, challenging, wonderfully readable and gloriously illustrated history" --Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. "Major and inspiring" "-Vartan Gregorian "A wide-ranging, politically detached view of the shaping events of the century. It is excellent prose with wonderful pictures. I much enjoyed it, as I think will all" --John Kenneth Galbraith "A book every family should have" --General Colin L. Powell, (Rtd.) "A sumptuous memory-book of an astonishing time" --Geoffrey C. Ward From the Hardcover edition.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, June 1998
Booklist, August 1998
Kirkus Reviews, September 1998
Publishers Weekly, September 1998
Library Journal, October 1998
New York Times Book Review, October 1998
School Library Journal, February 1999
New York Times Book Review, November 2000
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Main Description
"In a style at once trenchant and easygoing, Harold Evans leads us on a walk through the century now drawing to a close, taking us back over ground that far too many of us have let slip from our memories." --Shelby Foote, author ofThe Civil War The American Centuryis an epic work. With its spectacular illustrations and incisive and lucid writing, it is as exciting and inspiring as the hundred years it surveys. Harold Evans has dramatized a people's struggle to achieve the American Dream, but also offers a thoughtful and provocative analysis of the great movements and events in America's rise to a position of political and cultural dominance. There are 900 photographs, several hundred brought to light for the first time, and the richly researched narrative offers many surprises. In 1889, when the United States entered the second hundred years of its existence, it was by no means certain that a nation of such diverse peoples, manifold beliefs, and impossible ideals could survive its own exceptional experiment in democracy or manage to avoid a headlong slide into oblivion. Evans describes what happened to the democratic ideal amid the clash of personalities and the convulsions of great events. Here are assessments of the century's nineteen presidents, from Benjamin Harrison, who brought the Stars and Stripes into American life in 1889, to the movie star who waved it so vigorously a hundred years later. Here are the muckrakers who exposed the evils of rampant capitalism, and the women who fought to make a reality of the rhetoric of equality. Here are the robber barons--the Carnegies, the Rockefellers, and the Morgans -- carving out great empires of unparalleled wealth, turning their millions into foundations for public benefit. Here are Al Capone and J. Edgar Hoover, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Ku Klux Klan, Joe McCarthy and Dwight Eisenhower. Here is the American heartland at peace (but on the wagon), America in two world wars, and at war with itself in the sixties. Evans analyzes the central questions of the era. Among them: How did the tradition arise that government should not meddle in business? How did anti-colonial America become an imperial power? How much was democracy threatened by the influence of money? What was the nature of American isolationism? Why did Woodrow Wilson take the United States into World War I? What caused the Great Depression, and why did it last so long? Did Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal succeed or fail? Did the protests of the sixties go too far? Was Vietnam a noble cause? Has the Watergate scandal been blown up out of all proportion? Who deserves the credit for the end of the Cold War? Throughout, Harold Evans lets us see how America prospered because of the power of an idea: the idea of freedom. The nation did not simply become the largest economic and military power, send men to the moon and jeans and consumer capitalism to Red Square--it strengthened Western society through acts of courage, generosity, and vision unequaled in history. The British may claim the nineteenth century by force, and the Chinese may cast a long shadow over the twenty-first, but the twentieth century belongs to the United States. This is America's story as it has never been told before. With 900 photographs
Description for Library
Using over 1,000 excellent illustrations, this lively narrative traces the political history of the United States from 1889 to 1989, with the author's main thesis being that the United States dominated the world scene during these years because of its founding ideas on political & economic freedom.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why it can be Called the American Century
The Last Frontier 1889-1893p. 2
Showdown for Democracy 1890-1898p. 20
The Lure of Empire 1898-1905p. 48
Old and New Americans 1880-1910p. 82
Workers Take a Stand 1893-1916p. 106
Good Times, Bad Times 1914-1920p. 140
The Turmoil of Normalcy 1920-1929p. 180
The Dream Turns to Dust 1929-1939p. 218
The Road to World War II 1936-1941p. 282
The Citadel of Democracy 1941-1945p. 314
America Leads 1945-1956p. 386
The Dawn of a New Freedom 1954-1965p. 452
The War of Lost Illusions 1963-1975p. 522
The Imperial Presidency 1972-1980p. 566
Put Out More Flags 1981-1989p. 612
Afterword: Let Freedom Ringp. 653
Acknowledgmentsp. 665
Photographic Acknowledgmentsp. 665
Bibliographyp. 665
Indexp. 665
Illustration Creditsp. 665
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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