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The Tyranny of Change: America in the Progressive Era, 1890-1920 Paperback – March 1, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0813527994 ISBN-10: 0813527996 Edition: 3rd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press; 3 edition (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813527996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813527994
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Between 1890 and 1920, the forces accompanying industrialization sent the familiar nineteenth-century world plummeting toward extinction. The traditional countryside , with its villages and family farms, was eclipsed by giant corporations and sprawling cities.

In lively, accessible prose, John Chambers incorporates into his book the latest scholarship about the social, cultural, political, and economic changes that produced modern America. He illuminates the experiences of blacks, Asians, Latinos, as well as other working men and women in the cities and countryside, as they struggled to improve their lives in a transformed economy.

Striding these pages are many of the prominent individuals who shaped the attitudes and institutions of modern America: J.P. Morgan and corporate reorganization; Jane Addams and the origin of modern social work; Mary Pickford and the new star-oriented motion picture industry; and the radical laor challenge of "Big Bill" Haywood and the "Wobblies."

While recognizing a 'progressive ethos'- a mixture of idealistic vision and pragmatic reforms that characterized the period- Chambers elaborates the role of civic volunteerism as well as the state in achieving directed social change. He also emphasizes the importance of radical and conservative forces in shaping the so-called "Progressive Era."

The revised edition of this classic work has an updated bibliography and a new preface, both of which incorporate the new social and cultural research of the past decade.

About the Author

John Whiteclay Chambers II is professor of history at Rutgers University. He recently co-edited The New Conscientious Objection and is the author of To Raise an Army: The Draft Comes to Modern America

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This well written survey is an excellent overview of the Progressive era. Chambers combines solid narrative with thoughtful analyses in covering the major events and trends in political, economic, social, and intellectual-cultural history. This book features 3 major themes about the Progressive era and progressive movement. The first is captured nicely in the title. This is a period of major changes in American life; the continued impact of industrialization and urbanization, major economic fluctuations and increasing concentration of economic power, the consolidation of large, national corporate bureacracies, the development of national interest group politics, greater ethnic diversification through major immigration (including internal immigration such as the movement of African-Americans to the North), the increasing power and expansion of the Executive branch of the Federal government and particularly the Presidency, and the USA's emergence as a major international power. The second is what Chambers calls "interventionism." This is the gradual abandonment, paticularly by American middling classes squeezed between the emergent plutocracy and the greatly expanded and strongly immigrant urban working classes, of the highly individualistic, open market attitudes to economics and politics. Finally, Chambers' discussions stress the considerable heterogeneity of the progressive movement.

Chambers opens by nicely laying out the magnitude of the major changes in American life, sketching out major economic and demographic changes, increasing urbanization and social differentiation, the beginnings of mass consumer culture, and changes in family life and the roles of women. Much of what follows is descriptions of the responses to these great social changes.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm an independent researcher working on a nonfiction book set in the Progressive Era. I'd been looking for years for something that would give me a real overview, but there is a wealth of books to choose from, and all those I came across were either too superficial for my needs or too specific or academic.

When I stumbled across THE TYRANNY OF CHANGE (3rd edition) in the course of an Internet search for something else, I used the Look Inside feature and saw immediately that this revised 1980s book was the overview I'd been looking for. Chambers covers all the essential topics a researcher needs to know about, logically and in depth, but always from the point of view of the enormous changes that took place in American life in this period. His sympathies, obviously, are "progressive," but doesn't seem to have an agenda or an ax to grind, and his writing is clear and readable. In fact, THE TYRANNY OF CHANGE has become my lunchtime reading--so much that before I went on vacation, I purchased the Kindle edition as well. I would write the author a fan letter, but I'm too busy enjoying his book. :)

Bottom line: I highly recommend this to anyone in need of a well-written history that surveys the whole forest while not losing sight of the trees.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mj on October 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was interesting and informative. A good read for someone wanting to study the progressive era. I recommend it.
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