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Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush vs. Gore (Oxford History of the United States, vol. 11) Hardcover – September 23, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
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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
"This splendid and readable new book is the latest volume in that ambitious series, 'The Oxford History of the United States...' Patterson has risen magnificently to the task of describing and analyzing this rich and confused period... Restless Giant is extraordinarily sharp in its repeated references to and use of American popular culture... He is excellent in his coverage of the rise of the ultra-conservative right."--Paul Kennedy, Washington Post Book World
"Patterson is at his best in recreating the spirit and feel of presidential elections and the legislative and diplomatic achievements--as well as the scandals--of our nation's chief executives.... Patterson is a careful historian. Bending over backward to offer his readers a range of perspectives on the phenomena he explores, he appears to be a genuinely fair and balanced scholar.... For its thorough and reliable recounting of the period's main developments, 'Restless Giant' is well worth reading."--Eric Arnesen, Chicago Tribune
"Dazzling and erudite, the book thrums with the buzz of ideas coming together.... Detached, dispassionate, and drawn to detail, Patterson writes in taut, vivid language, and with illustrative examples on every page. He keeps his judgments terse and defensible."--David Greenberg, American Prospect
"Patterson is a fine historian.... Continuing where he ended his prior contribution to the series (Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974), Patterson again combines narrative and analysis in his assessment of an important era in U.S. history. The result is a good survey of the political, economic, foreign policy, social, and cultural trends and events during the presidencies of Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.... For all libraries." --Library Journal
"A worthy addition to the highly acclaimed Oxford History of the United States series. A crisp, engaging narrative for readers seeking an easy grasp of the key developments at home and abroad during the last quarter of the 20th century. Patterson's balanced analysis of contending interpretations of these developments will be most useful to readers as they think critically about this recent era in American history."--Parameters
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Top Customer Reviews
Patterson does again what he does best and that is put history in the context of a multitude of definitionally overlapping diciplines. Covering the time period of 1974-2000, without the context of a Revolutionary War (as did Robert Middlekauff in "Glorious Cause"), the Civil War (James McPherson in "Battle Cry of Freedom"), and the Great Depression and WWII (Kennedy's Freedom from Fear) - all part of this series, is exceedingly well done and presented in a fashion that most historical narrative writers would find difficult to create. It is, hence, no surprise that Patterson was chosen to write two volumes here, both recent 20th Century history, without a linchpin on which to write around. He covers the period extraordinarily well and gives the reader a very balanced view of the many facets of our history over the last thirty years.
With this book only the 5th actually published in the series, I was quite happy to learn the following. Gordon S.Read more ›
This book by James Patterson, part of the Oxford history of the United States covers the years from Nixon's resignation (1974) to inauguration day 2001 when George W. Bush became President. The media tends to stress conflict. In actuality there is much less conflict than you might otherwise believe. The majority of Americans were less partisan, less attentive to political fighting than were the protestors, the politicians or the interest groups with causes to defend.
Through this quarter century, the Americans tended to elect the presidential candidate that they considered to be the most central, neither left nor right wing. Both political parties continued to be effective, holding about half of both houses of congress. The rights of racial and ethnic minorities, Catholics and Jews, the handicapped, senior citizens, women and gays all expanded. The economy expanded to have more Americans working than ever before.
This supurb book takes the immediacy out of the headlines and presents the history of our time in a well thought out, clear, and concise manner.
Yes, Patterson mentions most things you'd want or expect. The problem is, it's often just a mention. As an example, he'll write, "Terms like 'leveraged buyout', 'junk bond', and 'corporate raider' became well-known." That's it; no more explanation than that. Why not a little more discussion of what these terms mean? The story of Nabisco/RJR is a great example that could be used to illustrate the point here, but it's not even mentioned. The 80s are infamous for this stuff; why do you think the film "Wall Street" was so well received? But that movie gets one sentence, instead of being unpacked and discussed. Not to mention stuff like "preppy culture", which isn't included. It's a huge lost opportunity for some first rate economic/social history. And it's minor, but while he's talking about the Japanese buying Rockefeller Center and Newsweek writing about "Japan taking over", why not include the Japanese collector who paid a then-record amount for Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" in 1987? It's just one more detail that could have been included but went missing.
Generation X gets literally a single reference, and it's only in context with the Millennial Generation, who really shouldn't be entering the story so soon (This history goes to the year 2000, and Millennials are usually defined as being born after 1982, so the first ones are only 18 at the book's cut off point. Save them for the next volume).Read more ›
His text is stunning. He shows his skill in interpreting vast amounts of information and putting old controversies into new lights. The 1970s were hardly as bad as people thought and the 1980s were a time of greatness as Ronald Regan dominated the decade in a way that few presidents do.
The account, however, breaks down when Patterson reaches 1990. The chapters in the second half of the book are quite uneven. Some are as brilliant and informative as the material on the 1970s. In other chapters, Patterson fails to support his thesis. His citations are often missing and fail to support his arguments. At times, Patterson comes across as little more than a journalist reporting on the news of the day.
To use a baseball term, this book is a hit and a miss. A .500 batting average is pretty good in baseball; in history it gets a four-star rating, but just barely.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Out of all of the Oxford History of the United States volumes to date, this one is the least successful. Read morePublished 15 months ago by gloine36
Prof. Patterson extends the Oxford History of the United States series with this spiritedly written follow-up to his magisterial "Grand Expectations. Read morePublished 18 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 23 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 on May 19, 2014 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 on May 17, 2014 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