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Century of Difference: How America Changed in the Last One Hundred Years

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ISBN-13: 978-0871543523
ISBN-10: 9780871543523
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

CLAUDE S. FISCHER is professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. MICHAEL HOUT is professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 411 pages
  • Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation (November 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780871543523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871543523
  • ASIN: 0871543524
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #848,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Claude S. Fischer is a Sociology Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He started at Berkeley in 1972 with an undergraduate degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. from Harvard. Most of his early research focused on the social psychology of urban life--how and why rural and urban experiences differ--and on social networks, both topics coming together in "To Dwell Among Friends: Personal Networks in Town and City" (1982). In recent years, he has worked on American social history, beginning with a study of the early telephone's place in social life, "America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940" (1992). Along the way, Fischer has worked on other topics, including writing a book on inequality with five Berkeley colleagues, "Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth"(1996). Fischer was also the founding editor of "Contexts," the American Sociological Association's magazine for the general reader, and its executive editor through 2004.

In 2006, Fischer co-authored a social historical book with Michael Hout, "Century of Difference: How America Changed in the Last One Hundred Years" (Russell Sage), which describes the shrinking of old divisions and the widening of new ones among Americans over the twentieth century. In 2010, he published "Made in America: A Social History of American Culture and Character" (University of Chicago Press), which analyzes social and cultural change since the colonial era. And in 2011, he published "Still Connected: Family and Friends in America Since 1970" (Russell Sage), a study, using compilations of survey data, of whether and how Americans' personal ties have changed in the last generation.

Among his awards and honors, Fischer was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Fischer has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in urban sociology, research methods, personality and social structure, and American society, and seminars on topics ranging from professional writing to the sociology of consumption.

1972 Ph.D., Sociology, Harvard University 1970
M.A., Sociology, Harvard University
1968 B.A., Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Andy Rowell on September 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Berkeley sociology professors Fischer and Hout give a great overview of what America is like and how it changed from 1900 to 2000 using quality survey data. They identify and summarize trends but mostly refrain from drawing strong conclusions. They write well and the chapters are pleasantly short.

Why buy the book?
(1) This is an excellent resource for when you need a quote or a statistic about something you are researching. This is a quality, reputable resource that can be quoted in academic papers. Some of this information you could find on the internet but you would not be sure of its quality, nor if the statistics were being interpreted correctly.
(2) One cannot help but perceive the world from one's own experiences and observations. Fischer and Hout fill in that perspective with quality data. For example, they give the statistical data about how perceptions about women in the workplace have changed, how church affiliation has changed, how the attainment of college degrees have changed, and how income disparity has changed. They also provide the relevant data from the year 2000. Century of Difference helps put into perspective the statistics and poll data that one hears on the news.

Conclusion: We were assigned this book in the first week of a sociology course at Duke University. Century of Difference helps college students begin to see the ways patterns of work, education, race, geography, religion and values have changed in the past 100 years in the U.S.A. If you want to be a more thoughtful person, read these 10 chapters (which will take you a 1/2 hour each). You won't be blown away, but you will be a better thinker and more interesting conversationalist.
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