American Empire: 1945–2000: The Rise of a Global Power, the Democratic Revolution at Home

Joshua Freeman, Author
Joshua B. Freeman. Viking, $36 (512p) ISBN 978-0-670-02378-3
Reviewed on: 04/02/2012
Release date: 08/02/2012
Paperback - 530 pages - 978-0-14-312349-1
Open Ebook - 544 pages - 978-1-101-58377-7
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Queens College and CUNY Graduate Center history professor Freeman examines a postwar dominant America, and it couldn’t come at a better moment, when its citizens are rethinking its global influence. Covering the glory years of 1945–2000, Freeman is at his best when he turns his critical eye on America’s turbulent internal affairs, delving into Truman’s contested Fair Deal reforms, the McCarthy communist witch-hunts, Eisenhower’s cautious civil rights record, LBJ’s ambitious Great Society programs, Nixon’s Watergate disgrace, the return of “corporate capitalism” and Reagan conservatism. Freeman deals with the Clinton administration’s economic policies, which, he says, gave many Americans a higher standard of living, and global conflicts, followed by the Republican victory in 2000. Though at its peak, America’s power exceeded that of the Roman and British empires in cultural, economic, military, and political terms, the nation’s postwar dreams were never completely fulfilled, says Freeman. “And the 21st century’s “prolonged warfare, fearfulness, and economic troubles... owe more than a little to decisions made in the earlier epoch.” Freeman’s epic survey provides a fuller understanding of America’s postwar achievements and challenges, without the bias, drama, or despair of other books on these important issues. (Aug.)
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