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Liberalism and Its Discontents Hardcover – April 15, 1998

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Noted historian, professor at Columbia University, and winner of the American Book Award for History, Alan Brinkley has collected 17 essays written over the past two decades for Liberalism and Its Discontents. The assembled essays constitute a very informed, well-written, and engaging look at major issues in 20th-century American history. Beginning with Roosevelt and the New Deal, Brinkley is able to focus on major characters and trends while also exploring some very interesting side roads. Along with essays on major themes (such as the New Deal or the legacy of World War II), he brings his considerable insight and writing ability to an analysis of modern political conventions and to profiles of characters as diverse as Allard Lowenstein and Oral Roberts. Written in a lucid and entertaining style, this is serious history that is a pleasure to read. --Robert McNamara

From Library Journal

In this collection of essays, Brinkley (history, Columbia Univ.; The Transformation of New Deal Liberalism, LJ 3/15/95) explores the evolution of modern liberalism from its ascendance under the New Deal to the present day. Although the essays have appeared in other publications, each chapter flows naturally to the next, without the disjointedness that often characterizes this type of publication. In addition to Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, the author also provides fascinating insights into lesser-known figures such as the enigmatic John J. McCloy and the stern Henry Stimson. Of special interest to historians is Brinkley's brilliant tour of 20th-century American historiography, with chapters on Richard Hofstadter and T. Harry Williams. The author also provides a graceful, perceptive analysis of the rise of American conservatism since World War II. These essays represent the work of a prominent American historian in his prime, and each one is a gem. Highly recommended.?Edward Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; First Edition edition (April 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674530179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674530171
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #848,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
These 17 essays are wonderful when read individually. All are elouqent and insightful (as you would expect from Brinkley), especially the biographical ones such as "The Passions of Oral Roberts", "Robert Penn Warren, T. Harry Williams, and Huey Long," and "The Rise of Franklin Roosevelt." "Icons of the American Establishment" features a wonderful biography of Henry Stimson and readers will enjoy the chapters about Allard Lowenstein and Richard Hofstader.
Nonetheless, readers should be aware that most of this material is not new, as Brinkley explicity states in the introduction. Most of these essays have been published before in one form or another
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Format: Paperback
This book is well written, compelling, and has plenty of insights for those hoping to understand the political history of liberalism in America since the Great Depression. Unfortunately, it does not follow any unifying narrative, but rather, as a collection of essays, jumps from topic to topic in a somewhat disjointed manner. This left me unsatisfied. Each essay in itself was interesting, but I did not come away from this book with any sense of the greater picture. For example, the final chapter of the book is a critique of historians and their work that is more appropriate to an introductory college history class than a book about "Liberalism and Its Discontents." The bottom line: check out some of the essays in this book that interest you, but don't be fooled by its title.
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Format: Hardcover
Tracing the archaeology of liberalism the tale of its discontents is the autobiography of the primordial lockean and his pilgrim's progress since Roosevelt onwards. Like deviations around the mean, the grumblers and near party linears receive a series of shaggy dog stories for their spicy 'deviations'. I went to library looking for Ruggiero's History of Liberalism but came home with this instead, more fun. Lately, the number of shaggy dogs is increasing exponentially given the Bush regime and the discontents could mutate into malcontents. Meanwhile liberalism lumbers ever onward, an ism that has taken more torpedoes than most, yet without sinking.
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