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 history and 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 Americansincluding immigrants, minorities, women, and working peopleand 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 conclusion of 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.
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.--Edward Gibson, Langston Hughes Memorial Lib., Lincoln Univ., PA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.