The Gifted Generation: When Government Was Good

Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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A sweeping and path-breaking history of the post–World War II decades, during which an activist federal government guided the country toward the first real flowering of the American Dream.

In The Gifted Generation, historian David Goldfield examines the generation immediately after World War II and argues that the federal government was instrumental in the great economic, social, and environmental progress of the era. Following the sacrifices of the Greatest Generation, the returning vets and their children took the unprecedented economic growth and federal activism to new heights. This generation was led by presidents who believed in the commonwealth ideal: the belief that federal legislation, by encouraging individual opportunity, would result in the betterment of the entire nation. In the years after the war, these presidents created an outpouring of federal legislation that changed how and where people lived, their access to higher education, and their stewardship of the environment. They also spearheaded historic efforts to level the playing field for minorities, women and immigrants. But this dynamic did not last, and Goldfield shows how the shrinking of the federal government shut subsequent generations off from those gifts.

David Goldfield brings this unprecedented surge in American legislative and cultural history to life as he explores the presidencies of Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon Baines Johnson. He brilliantly shows how the nation's leaders persevered to create the conditions for the most gifted generation in U.S. history.
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About the author

David Goldfield is the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He is the lead author of the cornerstone textbook The American Journey, now in its seventh edition, and is the author of many works on Southern history, including Still Fighting the Civil War, Black, White, and Southern, and, most recently, America Aflame. He lives in North Carolina.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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Published on
Nov 14, 2017
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Pages
544
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ISBN
9781620400890
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
History / Social History
History / United States / 20th Century
Law / Government / Federal
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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"This is a probing book about the hold of the past, experienced largely as heritage and memory and not as historical understanding, on a whole region and people. Goldfield treats the Lost Cause with unblinking directness.... its main strength: the stress on the weight of memory and its enduring links to white supremacy." -- David W. Blight, Southern Cultures
"Drawing on a wide range of sources as well as contemporary reporting, this deftly written historical analysis takes on a difficult topic with passion, sensitivity, and integrity." -- Publishers Weekly
In the updated edition of his sweeping narrative on southern history, David Goldfield brings this extensive study into the present with a timely assessment of the unresolved issues surrounding the Civil War's sesquicentennial commemoration. Traversing a hundred and fifty years of memory, Goldfield confronts the remnants of the American Civil War that survive in the hearts of many of the South's residents and in the national news headlines of battle flags, racial injustice, and religious conflicts.
Goldfield candidly discusses how and why white southern men fashioned the myths of the Lost Cause and Redemption out of the Civil War and Reconstruction, and how they shaped a religion to canonize the heroes and deify the events of those fateful years. He also recounts how groups of blacks and white women eventually crafted a different, more inclusive version of southern history and how that new vision competed with more traditional perspectives.
The battle for southern history, and for the South, continues -- in museums, public spaces, books, state legislatures, and the minds of southerners. Given the region's growing economic power and political influence, understanding this struggle takes on national significance. Through an analysis of ideas of history and memory, religion, race, and gender, Still Fighting the Civil War provides us with a better understanding of the South and one another.
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