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The First Measured Century: An Illustrated Guide to Trends in America, 1900-2000 Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: American Enterprise Institute Press; 1st Edition edition (December 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 084474137X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0844741376
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,390,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

More than 100 years ago, U.S. President James Garfield predicted that the compilation of detailed statistics would ultimately provide us with a new way to view history. In the 1900s, America did indeed live up Garfield's prophesy by studiously measuring everything from population growth and occupational inclination to crime trends and food fads. The First Measured Century, produced in conjunction with a PBS special of the same name, expertly catalogs and analyzes the "numerical thinking" that has subsequently taken place.

Authors Theodore Caplow, Louis Hicks, and TV host Ben Wattenberg are all accomplished social scientists who have collectively produced dozens of books, articles, and television shows on the trends these statistics amplify. Here, they compile statistics derived from government sources and independent polling data into sections on work, education, family, religion, money, politics, business, and more. Each is further divided into single-page essays that begin with one overarching theme ("The concentration of working women in a few occupations diminished as they found employment throughout the economy") and conclude with charts and graphs that underscore the point (in this case, precisely how women left farming, domestic, and factory work from 1900 through 1998 for clerical and sales jobs, teaching, nursing, and other professional occupations). All in all, a highly informative--and entertaining--read. --Howard Rothman

From Publishers Weekly

In The First Measured Century: An Illustrated Guide to Trends in America, 1900-2000, sociologists Theodore Caplow and Louis Hicks and journalist Ben J. Wattenberg present cogent information on measurable aspects of modern life (population, health, work, religion, money, etc.) in an easy-to-read and engaging format featuring text accompanied by graphic illustrations. Readers will not be surprised to find out that Americans are healthier today than they were at the beginning of the century, but they may be surprisedAand reassuredAto learn that parents spend more time with their children now than they did 100 years ago. A three-hour PBS documentary program to air on December 20 will be sure to boost interest in and sales of this fun, fact-filled book.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
This book is a must read for anyone interested in the social sciences.
klse
Each topic is presented through a page of thoughtful text about the data, and a facing page of clear, colorful charts, illustrations that can in fact stand alone.
LovelyLibrary
Never before have so many social trends been charted and explained in a single book.
Steve Weber

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Curt Raney on January 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
The First Measured Century is a masterful compendium of facts and commentary on the 20th century seen through a vast array of statistics. The effect of the book is to smash many stereotypes about our nation and the 20th century, and to raise numerous, thoughtful questions regarding where we've been and where we're going. I enthusiastically recommend this book for anyone who really wants to know what went on in the last century. It will also make a terrific textbook for high school or college courses dealing with history, social change, social issues, and so on. You've got to get this book, and keep it close at hand for years to come if you want to be well-informed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the kind of book that you can open to any page, and you will find something that intrigues you. A half-hour will pass, and you'll still be reading and thinking about the the trends and the meanings of the trends illustrated in the graphs. First Measured Century is a great conversation piece and a wonderful resource for writers, teachers, historians -- anyone with an interest in our country. This book is worth the investment.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Loftus on June 22, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very fun book to read, especially if you have "conventional" opinions about things. I say this because some of the topics covered reveal surprisingly unexpected trends. This is not a serious work and is not suitable for serious research per se, but it has good foot-notes and sources so its topics could be researched further if the reader is so inclined.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an outstanding work that measures the changes in American social reality over the past century. From 76 million to 275 million citizens , from a largely rural country to an urban highly- industrialized one, from a country in which a high- school education was had by six percent only to one in which high- school education was had by eighty- three percent. Life -expectancy increased during this period twenty-six years for males and twenty- nine for females. The quality of life, in education, in health, increased enormously. The number of working hours and days declined, and the women's participation in the work- force increased enormously. Overall fertility declined through the century with the exception of the baby- boom years. Cohabitation before marriage which was nonexistent in 1900 became the rule in 2000. And in another disturbing trend for many Americans the rate of children born out of wedlock increased greatly to be now over twenty- five percent. Crime of all kinds also increased considerably though there has been leveling off in many areas since the eighties. Prosperity as measured by living space, by opportunities and time for leisure have also gone way up.

The overall picture given despite many negative trends is that the twentieth century was one of enormous progress and development for America. This of course was the century when it was a major factor in two world - wars, and in defeating the evils of Nazism and Fascism.

As the century ended America was the world's sole superpower and its leader politically, militarily and culturally.

This book is a wealth of information about developments over the century and it is highly recommeded.
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By Joy Cornett on October 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
I bought this book when it was first published and have referred to it again and again. It's a fascinating book that's not only interesting to read cover to cover, but a great resource to have on hand.
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Format: Paperback
This is truly a book for anyone interested in American life in the twentieth century, even those who, at first glance, would be intimidated by statistics. Each topic is presented through a page of thoughtful text about the data, and a facing page of clear, colorful charts, illustrations that can in fact stand alone. Chapters proceed in a logical order, linking interesting data on everything from population to education, government, crime, communications, business, and more. I can honestly say that I have already read this book twice in an attempt to absorb all of the fascinating information it puts forth. Moreover, there is a complete listing of sources in the "notes" section to supplement further research. This book gets an "A," and, by the inherent understanding obtained by reading, so should anyone who reads it to learn about social change.
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Format: Paperback
This book is truly the most enjoyable sociology related text that I have read to date. The information found in both the graphs and the text are indespinsible, at least for those of us that want to live a full and knowledgeable life. The text is also extremely well written. Whereas most academic books of this caliber bore the reader with terms and concepts that cannot be understood, this book does no such thing. It consistently interesting and never confusing. I have never read a better sociological book. I would also like to strongly disagree with a previous review that said that this book should not be called a book. Clearly, it is a book, as it has pages with words on them. Clearly, whoever wrote that review should not be allowed to write reviews because The First Measured Century is definitely one of the best books ever.
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By Steve Weber on December 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
The First Measured Century is an excellent compilation of statistical data, full of tidbits of useful information. Never before have so many social trends been charted and explained in a single book. The FMC is a great conversation starter, and a wonderful addition to any coffee table. Memorize the social trends and astound your friends with " i did not know that" factoids that will blow their minds. An excellent source of information on social life in the United States. Ben Wattenberg is pure genius. That Hicks guy is okay too.
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