History of the US 20th Century – Free American History Books PDF

Suggested History Books for the U.S. in the 20th Century

Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department – History of the US 20th Century

Acheson, Dean
Norton 1987 Dewey Dec. 973.91

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. “With deft portraits of many world figures, Dean Acheson analyzes the processes of policy making, the necessity for decision, and the role of power and initiative in matters of state. Acheson (1893–1971) was not only present at the creation of the postwar world, he was one of its chief architects. He joined the Department of State in 1941 as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and, with brief intermissions, was continuously involved until 1953, when he left office as Secretary of State at the end of the Truman years. Throughout that time Acheson’s was one of the most influential minds and strongest wills at work. It was a period that included World War II, the reconstruction of Europe, the Korean War, the development of nuclear power, the formation of the United Nations and NATO. It involved him at close quarters with a cast that starred Truman, Roosevelt, Churchill, de Gaulle, Marshall, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Attlee, Eden Bevin, Schuman, Dulles, de Gasperi, Adenauer, Yoshida, Vishinsky, and Molotov.” -Publisher.

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The Price of Power: America since 1945

Agar, Herbert
University of Chicago 1957 Dewey Dec. 973.91

The author “reviews the events and crises that have marked postwar history— the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, the Berlin airlift, the Eightieth Congress and Truman’s election, the Hiss case, the collapse of Nationalist China, the McCarthy hearings, the atom and hydrogen bombs, McCarthy’s “retirement,” and Eisenhower’s first election. .. He presents a vigorous and brilliant interpretation of the difficult years of America’s coming of age in the field of international politics and diplomacy and a candid evaluation of the price America must pay as the world’s most powerful nation.” – Publisher.

Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920’s

Allen, Frederick Lewis
Perennial Classics 2000 Dewey Dec. 973.91

Originally published 1931. “An account of the years from the spring of 1919 to 1931. It is a kaleidoscopic picture of American politics, society, manners, morals, and economic conditions.” – Booklist
“A swiftly moving, well-integrated American chronicle, recording with wit and sagacity ‘the fads and fashions and follies of the time, the things which millions of people thought about, and talked about and became excited about and which at once touched their daily lives,’ while indicating fundamental trends in national life and thought.” -NY Libr. Allen Only Yesterday free download or Read Online.

Since Yesterday: the 1930’s in America

September 3, 1929-September 3, 1939

Allen, Frederick Lewis
Perennial Classics 1986 Dewey Dec. 973.91

Originally published 1939. See the description of the other volume by Frederick Allen on this page; ‘Only Yesterday’.

Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy since 1938

Ambrose, Stephen E.
Penguin 1988 Dewey Dec. 973.9

“Offers a concise and informative view of the evolution of American foreign policy from 1938 to the end of the Reagan presidency. In light of recent scholarship, Professor Ambrose discusses past events such as World War II, the Eisenhower administration, Vietnam, and the Iran hostage crisis. He also examines closely such recent topics as the Strategic Defense Initiative, the Iran scandal, Nicaragua, international terrorism, the Iceland Summit, and the American Summit. In light of the enormous global power of the United States, Ambrose analyzes how American character traits – economic aggressiveness, racism, fear of Communism – have shaped the country’s evolving foreign policy. Ambrose’s probing and thematic examination of events makes ‘Rise to Globalism’ an invaluable work.” – Book cover.

Encyclopedia of the Cold War

Arms, Thomas S.
Facts on File 1994

A comprehensive A-to-Z reference to the nearly 50 years of this historical era. It covers the political, military and economic aspects of the struggle, with particular attention to the events of the late 1940s and 1950s. It also deals with the effects of the Cold War on the domestic politics of the U.S. – and vice versa – and of other countries.

Our War with Germany; a History – History of the US 20th Century

Bassett, John Spencer
1919 Dewey Dec. 973.91

A concise, readable account of the war period.
Contents: 1. Early Effects of the World War in the united States 2. The Belligerents and Neutral Trade 3. Germany and the United States 4. American Ideals as Affected by the War in Europe, 1914-1917 5. The United States Drawn into the Great War 6. Preparations for War 7. Organizing the National Resources 8. The War Policies of the Administration 9. The American Expeditionary Force 10. Learning the War Game in France 11. Fighting in the Marne Salient, May to July, 1918 12. The Last Two Months of Fighting 13. Naval Operations 14. Preliminaries to the Peace Negotiations 15. The Treaty of Versailles.

Prohibition: Thirteen Years that Changed America

Behr, Edward
Arcade 1996 Dewey Dec. 363.4

From the bestselling author of The Last Emperor comes this rip-roaring history of the government’s attempt to end America’s love affair with liquor—which failed miserably. On January 16, 1920, America went dry. For the next thirteen years, the Eighteenth Amendment prohibited the making, selling, or transportation of “intoxicating liquors,” heralding a new era of crime and corruption on all levels of society. Instead of eliminating alcohol, Prohibition spurred more drinking than ever before.
Formerly law-abiding citizens brewed moonshine, became rum- runners, and frequented speakeasies. Druggists, who could dispense “medicinal quantities” of alcohol, found their customer base exploding overnight. So many people from all walks of life defied the ban that Will Rogers famously quipped, “Prohibition is better than no liquor at all.” Here is the full, rollicking story of those tumultuous days, from the flappers of the Jazz Age and the “beautiful and the damned” who drank their lives away in smoky speakeasies to bootlegging gangsters—Pretty Boy Floyd, Bonnie and Clyde, Al Capone—and the notorious St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Edward Behr paints a portrait of an era that changed the country forever.

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All the President’s Men

Bernstein, Carl and Woodward, Bob
Warner 1975 Dewey Dec. 973.92

“The two Washington Post reporters whose investigative journalism first revealed the Watergate scandal tell the way it happened from the first suspicions, through the trail of false leads, lies, secrecy, and high-level pressure, to the final moments when they were able to put the pieces of the puzzle together and write the series that won the Post a Pulitzer Prize.”

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

Blackmon, Douglas A.
Doubleday 2008 Dewey Dec. 973.91

A Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the “Age of Neoslavery,” the American period following the Emancipation Proclamation in which convicts, mostly black men, were “leased” through forced labor camps operated by state and federal governments. In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history—an “Age of Neoslavery” that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II. Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Douglas A. Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter. By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

The Progressive Presidents: Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson

Blum, John Morton
Norton 1982 Dewey Dec. 973.91

“Advocates of a strong versus a weak presidency have struggled throughout American history, but never so fiercely as in the twentieth century, which saw the rise of progressivism. This is the story of four progressive presidents, from the first Roosevelt, who himself brought plenty of backbone to the office, to Woodrow Wilson , who articulated the theory of a progressive presidency, to FDR, who brought it unique power, and, finally, to Lyndon Johnson, who provided perhaps its last great surge in our century.” -Publisher.

Twentieth-century American Foreign Policy – History of the US 20th Century

Braeman, John, ed.
Ohio State University 1971 Dewey Dec. 973.91

A collection of essays on various aspects of American foreign policy, including two on historiography, by a dozen academic analysts.

Contents: The Changing Interpretive Structure of American Foreign Policy – Writings on American Foreign Relations: 1957 to the Present – Bureaucracy and Professionalism in the Development of American Career Diplomacy – The United States a World Power, 1900-1917: Myth or Reality? – The United States and the Failure of Collective Security in the 1930s – The United States and the Atlantic Alliance: The First Generation – Canada in North America – Recent United States-Mexican Relations: Problems Old and New – The United States and Cuba: The Uncomfortable “Abrazo,” 1898-1968 – The United States and Great Britain: Uneasy Allies – From Contempt to Containment: Cycles in American Attitudes toward China – Notes on the Contributors.

America in Revolt During the 1960s and 1970s

Carlisle, Rodney P. and Golson, J. Geoffrey, eds.

Looks at 12 significant events, from the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the passage of the Civil Rights Act, from the student killings at Kent State to Richard Nixon’s resignation. Drawing on the concepts of alternative history, the book portrays each event as it happened, then considers some plausible alternative scenarios of how history would have been different if these events had not occurred. It is a uniquely thought provoking way of exploring an explosive era.

The Social and Political Ideas of the Muckrakers

Chalmers, David Mark
Books for Libraries 1970 Dewey Dec. 973.91

“During the first decade of the twentieth century, a group of magazine journalists educated the American people about the widespread corruption that had attended the growth of industrialism. These “muckrakers” have been amply credited with laying the groundwork for many of the reforms that followed. This book … traces the entire muckrake writings of the major journalists of exposure. The result reaches beyond the familiar depiction of widespread corruption to show the common agreement among the muckrakers as to the cause of the trouble. In addition, this book presents the reform solutions—sometimes shallow, sometimes deep—which each of the muckrakers came to present in his writings, solutions which ranged from the release of business from restrictive halters to the espousal of legislative regulation and socialism.” – Author’s Preface.

The Armies of Industry: Our Nation’s Manufacture of Munitions for a World in Arms 1917-1918

– Volume 2

Crowell, Benedict and Wilson, Robert Forrest
New Haven: Yale University 1921 Dewey Dec. 973.91

“Much of the text of this account of the production of American munitions during [World War I] was published by the War Department as the report of Benedict Crowell, the Assistant Secretary of War and Director of Munitions in the War Government.” – Author’s Preface. These two volumes are intended to describe the U.S. Government’s effort to organize production of all types of munitions needed to prosecute the war effort.

Demobilization; Our Industrial and Military Demobilization After the Armistice 1918-1920

Crowell, Benedict and Wilson, Robert Forrest
New Haven: Yale University 1921 Dewey Dec. 973.91

Author Benedict Crowell was U.S. Assistant Secretary of War and Director of Munitions 1917-20. Most of the material upon which the book is based was collected from various government bureaus.

Contents: Halt – The A.E.F. Embarks – The Transatlantic Ferry – Ebb Tide – The Process of Discharging Soldiers – Picking Up after the Army – Soldier Welfare – Car Contracts – The Settlement of the War Contracts – Ordnance Demobilization – Artillery – Ammunition and other Ordnance – Aircraft – Technical Supplies – Quartermaster Supplies = Buildings and Lands – Selling the Surplus – The Foreign Liquidation – The Balance Sheet.

Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression

Dickstein, Morris
Norton 2009 Dewey Dec. 973.91

Hailed as one of the best books of 2009 by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, this vibrant portrait of 1930s culture masterfully explores the anxiety and hope, the despair and surprising optimism of distressed Americans during the Great Depression. Morris Dickstein, whom Norman Mailer called “one of our best and most distinguished critics of American literature,” has brought together a staggering range of material – from epic Dust Bowl migrations to zany screwball comedies, elegant dance musicals, wildly popular swing bands, and streamlined Deco designs. Exploding the myth that Depression culture was merely escapist, Dickstein concentrates on the dynamic energy of the arts, and the resulting lift they gave to the nation’s morale. A fresh and exhilarating analysis of one of America’s most remarkable artistic periods.

Personal Perspectives: World War II – History of the US 20th Century

Dowling, Timothy C., ed.

Brings to life the experiences of specific segments of soldiers and civilians as they were affected by the conflict, capturing special characteristics of each group and the unique ways they experienced the war. Twelve essays written by top international scholars portray what it was really like to experience the war for groups ranging from marines, naval aviators, and liberators of concentration camps to prisoners of war, refugees, and women in factories.

Civil Rights Movement: People and Perspectives

Ezra, Michael, ed.

Looks at the struggle for individual rights from the social historian’s perspective, providing a fresh context for gauging the impact of the civil rights movement on everyday life across the full spectrum of American society. From the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case to protests against the Vietnam War to the fight for black power, Civil Rights Movement: People and Perspectives looks at events that set the stage for guaranteeing America’s promise to all Americans. In eight chapters, some of the country’s leading social historians analyze the most recent investigations into the civil rights era’s historical context and pivotal moments.

The Columbia Guide to America in the 1960s

Farber, David R; Bailey, Beth L.
Columbia Univ. 2001 Dewey Dec. 973.92

The 1960s continue to be the subject of passionate debate and political controversy, a touchstone in struggles over the meaning of the American past and the direction of the American future. Amid the polemics and the myths, making sense of the Sixties and its legacies presents a challenge. This book is for all those who want to take it on. Because there are so many facets to this unique and transformative era, this volume offers multiple approaches and perspectives.
The first section gives a lively narrative overview of the decade’s major policies, events, and cultural changes. The second presents ten original interpretative essays from prominent historians about significant and controversial issues from the Vietnam War to the sexual revolution, followed by a concise encyclopedia articles organized alphabetically. This section could stand as a reference work in itself and serves to supplement the narrative. Subsequent sections include short topical essays, special subjects, a brief chronology, and finally an extensive annotated bibliography with ample information on books, films, and electronic resources for further exploration.

Articles Collection – the History of Science & Technology

How We Got Here: The 70’s, the Decade that Brought you Modern Life (for Better or Worse)

Frum, David
Basic 2000 Dewey Dec. 973.92

“In this first, thematic popular history of the decade, David Frum argues that it was the 1970s, not the 1960s, that created modern America and altered the American personality forever. A society that had valued faith, self-reliance, self-sacrifice, and family loyalty evolved in little more than a decade into one characterized by superstition, self-interest, narcissism, and guilt. Frum examines this metamorphosis through the rise to cultural dominance of faddish psychology, astrology, drugs, religious cults, and consumer debt, and profiles such prominent players of the decade as Werner Erhard, Alex Comfort, and Jerry Brown. How We Got Here is lively and provocative reading.” -Publisher.

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