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Recent America: The United States Since 1945, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-88295-276-5
636 pages
January 2011, ©2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Recent America: The United States Since 1945, 3rd Edition (0882952765) cover image


This third edition of Recent America is an extensive revision that includes entirely new material to carry the coverage forward into the second decade of the twenty-first century—right up through the recent midterm elections of 2010. With an emphasis on national politics, the ever-evolving multicultural American society, the role of the United States in international affairs, and economic trends, this third considers changes in American literature, fine arts, music, film, pop culture, and sports and their relationships to social, cultural, and economic trends. The incorporation of these often overlooked historical themes presents a more relevant and inclusive recent history of the United States.

Building upon the tradition set forth by Dewey Grantham in the first and second editions of his highly readable and informative survey history of the United States since World War II, Thomas Maxwell-Long brings new perspectives and explores new realities that Americans did not face even as recently as the turn of the century. The result provides students with an engaging, well-rounded, and thoughtfully illustrated narrative that reconstructs history and also makes strong connections between the present and the past.
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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments xi

Chapter 1 The Transition from WWII to the Cold War: Confrontation and Containment 1

Chapter 2 Harry Truman, the Korean War, and the Politics of Stalemate 45

Chapter 3 Politics of Moderation: Eisenhower, the New Look, and Brinksmanship 87

Chapter 4 Leading the World: Economic Expansion, Affluence, and Social Change 134

Chapter 5 Inspiration, Crises, and Tragedy: John F. Kennedy and the New Frontier 181

Chapter 6 The Culture of Affluence and Anxiety: Postwar America 226

Chapter 7 Great Changes, Great Failings: LBJ, the Great Society, and the Vietnam War 263

Chapter 8 The End of Innocence: National Limits, Richard Nixon, and Watergate 321

Chapter 9 The Search for Solutions in a “Crisis of Confidence” 378

Chapter 10 The Reagan Revolution and Return of Confidence 413

Chapter 11 The United States and the New World Order 450

Chapter 12 The Booming Nineties: Clinton, Impeachment, and the High Flying Economy 473

Chapter 13 Time of Tragedy: George W. Busch, 9/11, Two Wars, and the Great Recession 507

Chapter 14 Changing America 565

Index 614

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Author Information

Dewey W. Grantham was a specialist in twentieth-century American history and the Holland N. McTyeire Professor of History Emeritus at Vanderbilt University, which he taught for many years. He received a doctorate from the University of North Carolina, and in Chapel Hill was a student of Professor Fletcher M. Green. His special interests included modern American politics and public policy, the evolution of presidential leadership, and the role of regionalism in the United States. Professor Grantham was active in the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and was president of the Southern Historical Association, whose Charles S Sydnor Award he won.

Thomas Maxwell-Long received his Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Riverside. He has published several articles on various themes in United States history four other books, including Watergate and the Resignation of Richard Nixon, with Harry P Jeffrey, and is co-author with John W. Dean III of the forthcoming books The Watergate Cover-up Trial. He is the Associate Director of California State University San Bernadino’s Center for Indigenous Peoples Studies and Assistant Professor of history, where he teaches courses in the fields of U.S. and Native American history as well as in Public History.


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Praise for a previous edition:
"In several different and important ways, Professor Grantham brings the political history of recent America alive for new generations of students. ...This text will surely please political historians and those who want a strong political component for their classes. It will also please students who want to learn about politics and the attitude shifts associated with each generation." (H-Net Reviews, May, 1998)
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