The Flowering of the Third America: The Making of an Organizational Society, 1850-1920

Maury Klein, Author Ivan R. Dee Publisher $22.5 (224p) ISBN 978-1-56663-029-0
As corporations came to dominate American life in the second half of the 19th century, individualism remained ``the most prized virtue of our folklore.'' But in reality, asserts Klein, big corporations, lobbies, political machines and professional associations gained vast powers at the expense of consumers, workers, reformers and the disorganized poor and struggling. This vibrant, concise social history of America's transformation from a rural, agrarian society to an urban, industrialized, multicultural one demonstrates that increasing organization of the corporate economy paradoxically made life ever more fragmented and alienated for ordinary persons. To fill the gap, argues Klein, a University of Rhode Island history professor, the consumer economy provided a unifying social thread with standardized products, films, magazines, radio, sports and other cultural meeting points. Klein ( The Life and Legend of Jay Gould ) crams in a wealth of information on everything from the invention of Coca-Cola to the economic havoc following WW I. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/23/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
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