Cover image for Twentieth-century America : a brief history
Twentieth-century America : a brief history
Reeves, Thomas C., 1936-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
vi, 314 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E741 .R33 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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As this most tumultuous century draws to a close, the need for a concise and trustworthy history is clear. Recent decades have seen the publication of American histories that are either bloated with unnecessary detail or infused with a polemical purpose that undermines their authority.InTwentieth-Century America, Thomas C. Reeves provides a fluidly written narrative history that combines the rare virtues of compression, inclusiveness, and balance. From Progressivism and the New Deal right up to the present, Reeves covers all aspects of American history, providing solid coverage of each era without burying readers in needless detail or trivia. This approach allows readers to grasp the major developments and continuities of American historyand to come away with a cohesive picture of the whole of the twentieth century. The volume stresses social and well as political history, emphasizing the roles played by all Americans--including immigrants, minorities, women, and working people--and pays special attention to such topics as religion,crime, public health, national prosperity, and the media. Reeves is careful throughout to present both sides of controversial subjects and yet does not leave readers bewildered about which interpretations are most strongly supported or where to explore these issues more thoroughly. At the conclusionof each chapter, the author cites ten authoritative volumes for further study. The bibliographies, as well as the text, are refreshing in their lack of ideological bent. "Objectivity," Reeves suggests, "is an illusive but worthy goal for the historian." For anyone wishing to achieve a lucid historical overview of the past 100 years, Twentieth-Century America is the best place to start.

Author Notes

Thomas C. Reeves is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside and Senior Fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Institute. The author of The Life and Times of Joe McCarthy and the best-selling A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy, he lives in Franksville,Wisconsin.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Reeves (Univ. of Wisconsin, Parkside) has designed this book as a succinct review of recent American history. Aimed at general readers and undergraduates, it provides reliable history without excessive detail and conflicting viewpoints. Moving from 1900 through recent events in Kosovo, Reeves writes the American story engagingly and without much ideological interpretation. The only weakness here (not a major one) is a lack of coverage of popular culture. Mostly, however, this is an admirable, well-written success that readers interested in American history will appreciate. For all public and academic libraries, especially those with less-than-adequate budgets.ÄEdward Gibson, Langston Hughes Memorial Lib., Lincoln Univ., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Reeves competently describes the changes that have occurred in the United States over the last century as our country has grown from a brash newcomer among the older European nations into the lone superpower and global economic dynamo that we are today. All of the major issues and events are touched upon in this clearly written, though somewhat bland recital. The text is arranged in short chronological chapters and is accompanied by a sprinkling of black-and-white photos. There is thorough coverage and thoughtful analysis of each presidency from Theodore Roosevelt to Bill Clinton. The changing roles of women, the recognition of the civil rights of African Americans, and the gradual improvements in their standard of living and access to higher education are adequately covered. The sexual revolution and other counterculture influences of the `60s and `70s are duly noted. "Monicagate" and the impeachment of Bill Clinton receive a brief, but clear explanation as well. The U.S. intervention in Kosovo and the bombing of Yugoslavia conclude the volume. A short, helpful list of suggested readings follows each chapter. Students should find this a useful no-frills introduction to the topic, adequate for an introductory course or quick reference. Harold Evans's much larger and more attractively packaged The American Century (Knopf, 1998) provides similar coverage with a multitude of fascinating photos and an extensive bibliography, but its size makes it more suitable for reference.-Douglas Wooley, Brooklyn Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.