America Reborn: A Twentieth-Century Narrative in Twenty-six Lives
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The people Martin Walker has chosen to portray are presidents, industrialists, artists, thinkers, entertainers, soldiers, spies, criminals, and evangelists, among others, and he makes the life of each individual serve as a framework for a discussion of the nation as a whole in a century when it was reinventing itself.
Through Theodore Roosevelt, Walker examines America's ambition; through Woodrow Wilson, our idealism; through FDR, our triumph on the world stage; through Richard Nixon, our retreat into cynicism; through Bill Clinton, globalization and controversy about the right way to use America's unprecedented power.
In Henry Ford he finds the creator of both the mass-market product and the mass-market consumer, and in Walt Disney, the revolutionizer not only of America's entertainment but also of the world's. William Boeing is the innovator who spurs the behemoth of American aviation; Walter Reuther defines labor's struggles; George C. Marshall represents the spread of America's economic genius in a war-ravaged Europe.
In the lives of Duke Ellington, Frank Lloyd Wright, Katharine Hepburn, and John Steinbeck, Walker traces America's far-reaching cultural influences. Babe Ruth leads to a consideration of the role of sports in our society; William F. Buckley, Jr., to a discussion of conservatism; Martin Luther King, Jr., to matters of race; Betty Friedan to the shifting role of women; Billy Graham to an examination of religion; Emma Goldman to minority viewpoints and dissent; Black Jack Pershing to the place of the military; Lucky Luciano to crime and corruption; Albert Einstein to immigration; Richard Bissell to spies and the intelligence network; Alan Greenspan to finance and banking; and Winston Churchill to the American diaspora.
At once intimate and wide-ranging, America Reborn is an altogether engrossing work of narrative history.
Rezension: With the detailed expertise of a historian and the insight of a contemporary, Martin Walker presents a narrative of the outgoing American century through individual portraits of 26 of its most influential participants. Beginning with Teddy Roosevelt and concluding with Bill Clinton, Walker's portraits are less biographical than they are temporal; he brings to life particular moments in the 1900s that his subjects helped shape. For example, his narrative of William Boeing traces the history of American aviation from its origins to the present. After World War I, Boeing, Martin, Loughead, Northrop, and Douglas recognized the potential for commercial aviation, and the industry was born. Walker then outlines the shift into aerospace when President Kennedy pledged to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, and the industry's present contraction into two conglomerates, competing with Europe's Airbus consortium.
Former bureau chief of The Guardian and author of several critically acclaimed books, Walker is a seasoned, skilled writer. His portraits read easily. Averaging 15 pages, they can be read individually or as part of the larger narrative. Each of them illustrates the "primacy of the individual" and the powerful "cult of the winner," unique characteristics of American society that lead the author to consider the 20th century the "American century" and America the cultural, economic, and political world leader. --Bertina Loeffler Sedlack
Titel: America Reborn: A Twentieth-Century ...
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