Starred Review. The Brown University historian seamlessly melds the complexities of politics, economics, society and culture into a vibrant and accessible account of late twentieth century America. Patterson's analyses of standard historical fare, interwoven with nuanced observations on diverse issues such as family life, the personal computer revolution, the media and gay activism give this book its singular dynamism. Picking up where his last volume, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974, left off, Patterson opens with Richard Nixon's resignation and plunges into a detailed discussion of "the nation's number one problem," race. Contemporary commentators viewed racial tensions, along with relaxed sexual mores, agitation for women's rights and burgeoning consumerism as symptomatic of the country's "moral decline," spurring organizations like Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority to advocate "pro-life, pro-family pro-morality, pro-American" views. By the late 1990s, media-exaggerated accounts of these "culture wars," had abated, Patterson says. Pop culture icons from Bill Cosby to Madonna and Jerry Seinfeld also populate these pages, but, predictably, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton tower over all. Patterson credits Reagan with "facilitating" the end of the Cold War, but diplomatically sidesteps whether he or Mikhail Gorbachev deserve the ultimate accolades. Although international conflicts distracted Clinton from the domestic policy-making he preferred, a sexual "tryst" led to his impeachment, threatening the "transcendent position in United States history" he sought. The author also touches on terrorism, beginning with the Iranian hostage crisis and culminating in the American intelligence community's knowledge that, by late 1998, radical Muslim terrorists "were considering... hijacking commercial airliners and crashing them into buildings." Rich in period details from the somber to frivolous, this is an invaluable guide to the end of an era.
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"First-rate history by a first-rate historian... A splendid book that will come to be regarded as indispensable to everyone who cares about the history of this country."--Charles Peters, The New York Times Book Review
Out of all of the Oxford History of the United States volumes to date, this one is the least successful. Read morePublished 7 months ago by gloine36
When I first saw this on the shelf at the bookstore, my immediate thought was, "Isn't it kind of short? Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jim
Prof. Patterson extends the Oxford History of the United States series with this spiritedly written follow-up to his magisterial "Grand Expectations. Read morePublished 9 months ago by John Wetterholt
I needed this book for a summer assignment & it worked perfectly. It had some wear & tear but that's what you get when you asked for a used book. It was still in good condition. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Talicia Graves
I an halfway through the book and have enjoyed it very much. It is maybe not as interesting to me as his latest book"1965" because that time period was more transitionary... Read morePublished 15 months ago by gk1
Being a U.S. History teacher, I feel the duty to learn more, in order to teach myself to teach. This book was clearly researched so well and is presented in an interesting manner. Read morePublished 15 months ago by D. DOMINGUE
I would compare this to an indoor bought book! It cam just like new and I love it! Thanks a lot!Published on September 3, 2013 by Evan
I am sorry while this period should be vital and exciting, this has been my least favorite of this series. Read morePublished on July 3, 2013 by Nancy Schmitz