Cover image for American chronicle : year by year through the twentieth century
American chronicle : year by year through the twentieth century
Gordon, Lois G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xviii, 998 pages : illustrations ; 28 cm
General Note:
Rev. ed. of: The Columbia chronicles of American life, 1910-1992. c1995.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E169.1 .G664 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material
E169.1 .G664 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference
E169.1 .G664 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



This mesmerizing book is the ultimate American almanac, a unique record of life in the United States since 1900. For the first time, all the news, entertainment, art, literature, science and technology, sports, and fashion highlights are recorded in a single book, and this documentation is enriched by anecdotes, facts and figures, ads and fads, headlines, and memorable quotations--as well by as more than a thousand photographs. And in addition to the listings, a lively and perceptive essay by Lois and Alan Gordon introduces each decade, capturing the flavor of each period.
The section on the 1900s, for example, commemorates Teddy Roosevelt, conservation, the first movie theater, the first World Series, vaudeville, ragtime, Henry James, and Frank Lloyd Wright. The section on the fifties considers the significance of Joseph McCarthy, I Like Ike, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit , The Power of Positive Thinking , "Father Knows Best," "Rebel Without a Cause," The Lonely Crowd , Marilyn Monroe, Rosa Parks, and Sputnik. With its extraordinary wealth of information, American Chronicle ultimately conveys the unique imprint of each year and provides the stuff of contemporary memory. It will evoke and expand the contexts of all our lives.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

These large references books both cover 20th-century history and culture, and while the editors seem to agree that history is primarily the sum of small events, the results differ significantly. American Chronicle, which merely adds six years of coverage to the authors' earlier Columbia Chronicles of American Life, 1910-1992 (Columbia Univ., 1995), provides annual summaries. A hybrid mix furnishes almanac-like facts (e.g., yearly sport champions, arts and sciences award winners) and unofficial pop-cultural milestones, selected and presented in an arbitrary and informal way. For instance, advertisements appear to have been chosen because they seemed clever rather than representative of a given year. While certain entries summarizing listings of TV and arts premieres offer useful information, others, such as the annual digests of fashion trends, are quite haphazard and almost tongue-in-cheek. Despite the occasional black-and-white photo, the book's layout is uninspired. While it re-creates the sense of each year from 1910 through 1998, it falls short of being useful for anything but trivia. With its bright color graphics and its daily diary format, 20th Century Day by Day immediately appears to be a different sort of book. The dates covered fall into two categories: briefly noted items appear in columnar form, while major events receive several paragraphs, often accompanied by wonderful visuals. The writing is clear and, in the longer entries, usually provides broader context for events that receive focus. Unfortunately, while arrows sometimes direct readers to subsequent events, no notations direct readers to events leading up to a particular day, making it difficult to gain a balanced historical sense of cause and effect for each day's events. Still, the book, which extends through April 1993, offers a lively summary useful for both reference and browsing.--Charles K. Piehl, Mankato State Univ., MN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Since the title suggests their work covers the entire century, why did the editors not delay long enough to include 1999? To give them credit, they include the first decade of the 20th century in this third edition. Previous editions filled a need for fact-hunting readers, who often find excuse to browse in years other than those pertinent to their research. The format follows earlier editions, with each year as a chapter, arranged in sections. "Facts and Figures" (which includes an economic profile with statistics showing comparable data for each year) leads, followed by "News," a series of headlines. Subsequent sections give information about radio, TV, movies, and music, listing programs of note, movie openings, box-office stars, top records, and hit songs. Prizewinners in major categories are listed (e.g., Nobel Prizes and Academy Awards). In art and literature, major art exhibitions are listed by city, and best-selling books as well as critics' choices in fiction and nonfiction. Milestones in sports are noted, as are major events in science and technology. Recommended for all libraries. C. Williams; Hunter College