Cover image for Dirty little secrets of the twentieth century
Dirty little secrets of the twentieth century
Dunnigan, James F.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Quill/W. Morrow, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiv, 319 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D422 .D788 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The popular author of Dirty Little Secrets, Dirty Little Secrets of World War II, and Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam War offers a comprehensive look at what really happened in our century, exposing the real stories behind what we've always assumed as fact. In a concise, easy-to-read format, Dunnigan divulges 150 of the biggest misconceptions about the twentieth century, organizing them under a broad range of such categories as the military, entertainment, technology, and politics.

In the same thoughtful but slightly irreverent style that has characterized the Dirty Little Secrets series, Dunnigan explains why nongovernment organizations are actually more powerful than many governments and how the use of droids or combat robots has gone largely unnoticed. He reports the real reason the human life span is so much longer now, and reveals that this century has been as plagued as the Middle Ages by religious wars. And while we might think that wars or epidemics have been the primary cause of death in the twentieth century, Dunnigan reveals that more people have been killed by their own governments than any other means.

Perfectly timed for the approach of a new millennium, Dirty Little Secrets of the Twentieth Century reveals the shape of the past and direction of our future through the best-kept secrets and surprises of the century.

Author Notes

James F. Dunnigan has written more than 100 books and articles about warfare and diplomacy. A resident of New York City, he is a military analyst for MSNBC and has been a consultant to the State Department, the CIA, and the Army War College.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Dunnigan has done several "Dirty Little Secrets" titles (e.g., Dirty Little Secrets of World War II), and this latest is written in an easy-to-read style that will not bog down the casual reader. Covering 150 "misconceptions" about our century, he takes readers on a historical tour of the 20th century, exploring the vast realms of government and corporate secrets that have been kept from public view. The book is divided into seven chapters dealing with such topics as sex, politics, technology, and big business. Dunnigan shows the reader why he feels that technology has left an indelible mark on our everyday lives and how many of the corporations that influence our daily routines are in some respects more powerful than our local and national governments. While many of these secrets can now be obtained via the Freedom of Information Act or through online researching, Dunnigan implies that we may still be doomed to repeat our past mistakes. With the end of the century fast approaching, this book may prove to be a best seller. For public libraries.ÄLaRoi Lawton, Bronx Community Coll., CUNY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Operating Instructionsp. xiii
1 Then and Nowp. 1
The View from Therep. 2
Life Has Changedp. 3
The Population Explosionp. 4
Moving Every Five Yearsp. 6
The Shaving Revolutionp. 8
The Taming of the Cursep. 10
The Real Reason We Live Longerp. 12
Where Modern Medicine Came Fromp. 13
The Microbes Strike Backp. 19
AIDS Before AIDSp. 20
The New Immigrantsp. 21
Crimep. 31
Dressing Up, and Downp. 36
Freud Takes a Pillp. 40
Good Eatingp. 42
Olympic Feats of Bureaucratic Developmentp. 44
2 Entertainmentp. 47
An Avalanche of Mediap. 48
Great Unknown Innovators of Cinemap. 54
Great Hits and Misses in Movie Technologyp. 62
The Curse of the Close-upp. 65
The Century of Celebrityp. 66
Visible Generationsp. 70
Recordingsp. 71
Sexp. 79
Drugsp. 81
Rock and Rollp. 86
Shopping as Entertainmentp. 91
Radiop. 94
Televisionp. 99
Cable TVp. 106
World Wide Webp. 108
What PCs Are Really Used Forp. 116
On-line All the Timep. 120
3 Making a Livingp. 124
What We Earned Then and Nowp. 125
Inflationp. 129
Unemploymentp. 132
The World's Greatest Job Machinep. 135
Down on the Farmp. 138
The Green Revolutionp. 143
The Educational Advantagep. 145
Every Man a Scholarp. 147
Marketingp. 154
A New Product for Everyonep. 157
The Consumer Societyp. 161
One Step, Two Stepp. 164
Packagingp. 167
Women at Workp. 169
4 Buildingsp. 172
Houses for Everyonep. 172
Cooled by Refrigerationp. 176
Mobile Livingp. 178
The Automation of Houseworkp. 181
The Robotic Kitchenp. 182
Freedom of the Roadp. 184
You'll Never Walk Alonep. 189
Miles of Aislesp. 194
Malling the Landscapep. 202
5 Technologyp. 205
The Real Scientific Revolutionp. 206
The Really Important Inventionsp. 208
The Age of the Automobilep. 212
Operations Researchp. 215
Where the Personal Computer Came Fromp. 217
BASIC, Macros, and Roll-Your-Own Softwarep. 221
Workstationsp. 226
The DP Empire Strikes Backp. 227
The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Breadp. 232
The Hundred-Year-Old Answering Machinesp. 232
6 The Militaryp. 234
The Twentieth-Century Military Breakthroughsp. 235
The Great Ideas That Weren'tp. 243
Little-Recognized Weapons and Equipment That Changed Warfarep. 252
The Camp Followers Take Overp. 266
A Century of Infantry Riflesp. 267
Never Throw Anything Awayp. 271
Death from Abovep. 273
Still Walking After All These Yearsp. 275
Moving the Woundedp. 277
Send in the Droidsp. 277
Nuclear Weaponsp. 278
7 Politicsp. 282
Democidep. 283
Nongovernment Governmentsp. 285
The Religious Wars of the Twentieth Centuryp. 290
The Terrorism Businessp. 296
Storm Troopers Are Bad, but It's Been Worsep. 299
Appendix Inflation Multiplesp. 303
Indexp. 305