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

Handbook of Federal World War Agencies and Their Records 1917-1921

National Archives
Westport, CT: Greenwood 1943 Dewey Dec. 973.91

Reprint of a 1943 edition of a National Archives publication. “This handbook is issued in response to a current demand for information concerning the functions and records of agencies of the United States Government that contributed to the participation of the United States in the first World War. In time of war the Government assumes control over activities and aspects of life with which it has little to do in time of peace.” Foreword of the Handbook

This handbook was created in the midst of World War II to assist government planners who wished to draw upon the experience of planners in the previous war.

The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America, since 1945

Nash, George H.
Intercollegiate Studies Institute 1998 Dewey Dec. 973.91

In this revised and updated edition of what Insight magazine has called “the standard work” on the history of post — World War II American conservatism, Nash shows how a diverse group of men became an effective intellectual force in American life.

The New Republic Book: Selections from the First Hundred Issues – History of the US 20th Century

New Republic, ed.
NY: Republic 1916 Dewey Dec. 973.91

This book “aims to give in compact and available form a sample of liberal opinion in the United States, as expressed from 1914 to 1916 at the suggestion of events. The editors hope that these articles, published at various times and now brought together, will show in this volume, more plainly than journalism with its emphasis on the moment cans how, the main purposes and attitudes underlying their weekly comment on affairs.” – Preface.

Jazz Age: People and Perspectives

Newton-Matza, Mitchell, ed.

The volume broadens the spotlight from famous figures to cover everyday citizens whose lives were impacted by the times, including women and children, African Americans, rural Americans, immigrants, artists, and more. Chapters explore a wide range of topics beyond the music that came to symbolize the era, such as marriage, religion, consumerism, art and literature, fashion, the workplace, and more–the full cultural landscape of an extraordinary, if short-lived, moment in the life of a nation.

National Progress, 1907-1917 (American Nation, Vol. 27)

Ogg, Frederic Austin
1918 Dewey Dec. 973.91

“Comprehensive, impartial summary, not too condensed for interest, of the leading events in the national, economic and political history of the United States during [this period]. Six maps, critical essay on authorities and index.” N.Y. State Library
“The election of 1908, the corporations and the trusts, tariff controversies, injunctions, party unrest, and Taft reaction are the subjects which occupy the earlier chapters. The canal, Latin America, the election of 1912, and our growing colonial empire come next. . . Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic reforms, and the Great war close the story.” Dial.

Watergate: The Presidential Scandal that Shook America

Olson, Keith W.
Univ. of Kansas 2003 Dewey Dec. 973.92

Arguably the greatest political scandal of twentieth-century America, the Watergate affair rocked an already divided nation to its very core, severely challenged our cherished notions about democracy, and further eroded public trust in its political leaders.
A disturbing tale made famous by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in All the President’s Men, the Watergate scandal has been extensively dissected and vigorously debated. Keith Olson, however, offers for the first time a “layman’s guide to Watergate,” a concise and readable one-volume history that highlights the key actors, events, and implications in this dark drama. John Dean, John Ehrlichman, H. R. Haldeman, G. Gordon Liddy, John Mitchell, Judge John Sirica, Senator Sam Ervin, Archibald Cox, and the ghostly “Deep Throat” reappear here—in a volume designed especially for a new generation of readers who know of Watergate only by name and for teachers looking for a straightforward summary for the classroom.

Our Gallant Madness

Palmer, Frederick
Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran 1937 Dewey Dec. 973.91

Frederick Palmer (1873-1958) was an American journalist and writer who spent much of his long career as a war correspondent, beginning in 1897 with the Greco-Turkish War. Between WWI and WW2 he wrote 31 books, including this one in 1937. A number of Palmer’s books can be found here at the Internet Archive and here at the Online Books Page.

“A war correspondent, who stole a march on many others, a good many years ago, reviews the war from today’s perspective, hoping to add his weight to the side of prevention. Outlining the sentimental shibboleths which concealed the real motives that dragged us into the war, he then goes on to a detailed picture of the years 1917-1918 — followed by a denunciation of the leaders, military and political — Wilson, Lodge, Dalfour, etc. Then a plea for complete isolation policy.” -Kirkus Review 1937.

On Every Front: The Making of the Cold War – History of the US 20th Century

Paterson, Thomas G.
Norton 1992 Dewey Dec. 973.91

“Contemporary participants and historians alike agree that the emergence of the Cold War after World War Il was of immense importance for the modern age, but they differ sharply on the causes of the feverish competition between the great powers so central to recent world affairs. Thomas G. Paterson attempts to bridge this gap by going beyond the confines of revisionist history. Through a synthesis of the existing literature and different schools of thought and by extensive research in rich American and British archival sources which have only recently been made available to scholars, the author examines the well-springs of both American and Soviet diplomacy within the broad context of the international system from 1944 to 1950.” -Book cover.

Grand Expectations: the United States, 1945-1974

Patterson, James T.
Oxford Univ. 1996 Dewey Dec. 973

In Grand Expectations, James T. Patterson has written a highly readable and balanced work that weaves the major political, cultural, and economic events of the period into a superb portrait of America from 1945 through Watergate. Here is an era teeming with memorable events–from the bloody campaigns in Korea and the bitterness surrounding McCarthyism to the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, to the Vietnam War, Watergate, and Nixon’s resignation. Patterson excels at portraying the amazing growth after World War II–the great building boom epitomized by Levittown (the largest such development in history) and the baby boom (which exploded literally nine months after V-J Day)–as well as the resultant buoyancy of spirit reflected in everything from streamlined toasters, to big, flashy cars, to the soaring, butterfly roof of TWA’s airline terminal in New York. And he shows how this upbeat, can-do mood spurred grander and grander expectations as the era progressed.Of course, not all Americans shared in this economic growth, and an important thread running through the book is an informed and gripping depiction of the civil rights movement–from the electrifying Brown v. Board of Education decision, to the violent confrontations in Little Rock, Birmingham, and Selma, to the landmark civil rights acts of 1964 and 1965. Patterson also shows how the Vietnam War–which provoked LBJ’s growing credibility gap, vast defense spending that dangerously unsettled the economy, and increasingly angry protests–and a growing rights revolution (including demands by women, Hispanics, the poor, Native Americans, and gays) triggered a backlash that widened hidden rifts in our society, rifts that divided along racial, class, and generational lines. And by Nixon’s resignation, we find a national mood in stark contrast to the grand expectations of ten years earlier, one in which faith in our leaders and in the attainability of the American dream was becoming shaken.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, Vol 1: A-D

– Vol 2: E-J

– Vol 3: K-O

– Vol 4: P-T

– Vol 5: U-Z, Indexes

Pendergast, Tom and Pendergast, Sara, eds.
St. James 1999 Dewey Dec. 973.9

“An overview of popular culture in 20th century America with a particular emphasis on the second half of the century. In more than 2,700 entries, the nearly 450 contributors attempt to cover the major personalities, productions, products, events and developments from film, music, print culture, social life, sports, television and radio, art and performances (which include theater, dance, stand-up comedy, and other live performances).” – Am Ref Books Annual.

Cuban Missile Crisis: The Essential Reference Guide

Roberts, Priscilla Mary, ed.

Captures the historical context, the minute-by-minute drama, and the profound repercussions of the “Missiles of October” confrontation that brought the very real threat of nuclear attack to the United States’ doorstep. It takes full advantage of recently opened Soviet archives as well as interviews with key Russian, Cuban, and U.S. officials to explore the event as it played out in Moscow, Havana, Washington, and other locations around the world. Contains an introductory essay by the author and alphabetically organized reference entries contributed by leading Cold War researchers. The book also includes an exceptionally comprehensive bibliography.

A Life in the Twentieth Century: Innocent Beginnings, 1917-1950

Schlesinger, Arthur Meier
Houghton Mifflin 2000 Dewey Dec. 973.91

From America’s most celebrated living historian comes this “sprightly, straightforward account of the first third of an active and charmed life” (New York Times). Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. turns a studied eye on a personal past and reconstructs the history that has made him such an iconic figure for generations of readers. A LIFE IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY offers rare and revealing access to both the private world of a great American writer and the fine-grained texture of the American century.
Ranging from a fondly remembered childhood in the Midwest to a fascinating, storied academic and political life, this volume is an important addition to Schlesinger’s body of work, “every bit as well written as anything Schlesinger has done” (Providence Sunday Journal) and “sure to be used by students of the times for years to come” (Boston Globe). “With style and humor and a master historian’s deft blending of personal detail with epic events” (Wall Street Journal), Schlesinger evokes the struggles, the questions, the paradoxes, and the triumphs that shaped our era as only he can do.

The Crisis of the Old Order: The Age of Roosevelt 1919-1933

Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr.
History Book Club 2002 Dewey Dec. 973.91

Originally published in 1957. “Volume one of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.’s ‘Age of Roosevelt’ series, is the first of three books that interpret the political, economic, social, and intellectual history of the early twentieth century in terms of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the spokesman and symbol of the period. Portraying the United States from the Great War to the Great Depression, ‘The Crisis of the Old Order’ covers the Jazz Age and the rise and fall of the cult of business. For a season, prosperity seemed permanent, but the illusion came to an end when Wall Street crashed in October 1929. Public trust in the wisdom of business leadership crashed too. With a dramatist’s eye for vivid detail and a scholar’s respect for accuracy, Schlesinger brings to life the era that gave rise to FDR and his New Deal and changed the public face of the United States forever.” -Publisher.

The Coming of the New Deal

Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr.
Houghton Mifflin 1959 Dewey Dec. 973.91

The second of three volumes which interpret the political, economic, social and intellectual life of the United States during the time when Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office.
“This second volume of “The Age of Roosevelt” continues the work begun with “The Crisis of the Old Order, 1919-1933″. The dramatic story of how representative democracy began the battle to conquer economic collapse is followed through the first two years of the New Deal.” -Libr J
“Controversies are explained from two sides and concluded with value judgments that are generally astute and often brilliant.” – New Republic.

The Politics of Upheaval – History of the US 20th Century

Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr.
Houghton Mifflin 1960 Dewey Dec. 973.91

The last of three volumes which interpret the political, economic, social and intellectual life of the United States during the time when Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office.
“This volume “concentrates on the turbulent years of 1935-1936 – years when the revived American energies seem to be shooting off in every direction.” Publisher.

The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics

Schulman, Bruce J.
Free Press 2001 Dewey Dec. 973.92

In the first full history of the period, Bruce Schulman, a rising young cultural and political historian, sweeps away misconception after misconception about the 1970s. In a fast-paced, wide-ranging, and brilliant reexamination of the decade’s politics, culture, and social and religious upheaval, he argues that the Seventies were one of the most important of the postwar twentieth-century decades. The Seventies witnessed a profound shift in the balance of power in American politics, economics, and culture, all driven by the vast growth of the Sunbelt. Country music, a southern silent majority, a boom in “enthusiastic” religion, and southern California New Age movements were just a few of the products of the new demographics. Others were even more profound: among them, public life as we knew it died a swift death.
The Seventies offers a masterly reconstruction of high and low culture, of public events and private lives, of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Evel Knievel, est, Nixon, Carter, and Reagan. From The Godfather and Network to the Ramones and Jimmy Buffett; from Billie jean King and Bobby Riggs to Phyllis Schlafly and NOW; from Proposition 13 to the Energy Crisis; here are all the names, faces, and movements that once filled our airwaves, and now live again. The Seventies is powerfully argued, compulsively readable, and deeply provocative.

Cold War Culture: Media and the Arts, 1945-1990

Schwartz, Richard Alan
Facts on File 1998 Dewey Dec. 973.9

“For at least 45 years, the Cold War was the most important fact of American public life. It conditioned what thought, said, wrote, watched, read and heard; it shaped politics, journalism, education, art, literature, all forms of popular entertainment and even children’s toys. ‘Cold War Culture’, a concise A-to-Z guide to the expression of American Cold War sensibilities and the first popular reference work on the subject, records this inescapable influence. Hundreds of entries trace the Cold War’s presence in forms and genres from journalism, cartoons and toys to detective novels, spy movies and TV westerns. The author provides overviews of important themes and covers significant careers and individual works of writers, directors, columnists, actors, musicians, political personalities and others.” -Back cover.

Woodrow Wilson and the World War; A Chronicle of Our Own Times

Seymour, Charles
Toronto: Glasgow, Brook 1921 Dewey Dec. 973.91

A volume in the ‘Yale Chronicles of America’ series.

Contents: Wilson the executive – Neutrality – The submarine – Plots and preparedness – America decides – The nation in arms – The home front – The fighting front – The path to peace – Ways of the peace conference – Balance of power or League of Nations? – The settlement – The Senate and the treaty – Conclusion.

Troubled Journey: From Pearl Harbor to Ronald Reagan

Siegel, Frederick F.
Hill and Wang 1984 Dewey Dec. 973.91

“A lively, fresh interpretation of the cultural civil war over the role of government in American life that has been going on since the New Deal. Siegel’s approach is thoughtful and his conclusions disturbing.” – Frank Freidel, Univ. of Washington.

The Sixties in America, Vol 1

Volume 2

Volume 3 – History of the US 20th Century

Singleton, Carl and Wildin, Rowena, eds.
Salem 1999 Dewey Dec. 973.92

“The Sixties in America surveys the events and people of the 1960’s. The set not only provides in-depth coverage of all aspects of the three major events of the 1960’s that give the decade its distinctive character-but also surveys important developments in the arts, science and technology, business and the economy, government and politics and gender issues. The set looks at the most important people and events in the arts, media, music and sports and covers the headline-grabbing news items of the period.” -Publisher. Modern American history.

Our Times, 1900-1925, Vol 1

Volume 2 Volume 3 Volume 4

Volume 5 Volume 6

Sullivan, Mark
Scribner 1926-1936 Dewey Dec. 973.91

In 1923 Mark Sullivan signed a contract with Scribners to write a history of the first 25 years of the 20th century. The resulting six volumes were published from 1926 to 1935, and were immensely successful. This was a new kind of history, closely related to his work writing a column on national politics and many magazine articles on a variety of topics. This popular history, conversational in style and employing news articles, illustrations, and collaboration with thousands of observers from a wide spectrum of American society, was a history the general reading public could identify with. Instead of following the rarified world of political elites, this history concerned itself with the world experienced by common people.

“The Good War”: An Oral History of World War Two

Terkel, Studs
Pantheon 1984 Dewey Dec. 973.91

“Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, “The Good War” is a testament not only to the vicissitudes of war but also to the extraordinary skill of Studs Terkel as an interviewer. From a pipefitter’s apprentice at Pearl Harbor to a crew member of the flight that dropped the atomic bomb over Nagasaki, Terkel’s subjects are open and unrelenting in recounting their experiences during World War ll. The result is a masterpiece of oral history.” -Publisher.

Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression

Terkel, Studs
Pantheon 1970 Dewey Dec. 973.91

“Persons of all ages, occupations, and classes scattered across the U.S. remember what they experienced or were told about the economic crisis of the 1930’s. The result is a social document of immense interest.” – Booklist.
“The effect is of constant surprise. Surprise not only at the extent of the experience that most people called ‘hard times’, but the extraordinary depths of the memories Mr. Terkel evokes.” -NY Times Book Rev.

Beyond the Hiss case: The FBI, Congress, and the Cold War

Theoharris, Athan G., ed.
Temple University 1982 Dewey Dec. 973.91

“From the 1930s to the 1980s, the FBI has devoted much of its resources to investigating political dissenters, from groups like the Weather Underground to “respectable” professional organizations, academics, and Congressmen. This political meddling the FBI intended to keep secret. These essays describe the agency’s past and present methods to hide its activities, the classic Cold War cases, and the degree of collaboration between the FBI, congressional committees, university officials, and journalists.” -Book jacket.

Mobilizing Civilian America

Tobin, Harold J. and Bidwell, Percy W.
NY: Council on Foreign Relations 1940 Dewey Dec. 973.91

In 1940 the Council on Foreign Relations was looking ahead to U.S. involvement in WW2 when it commissioned this plan for mobilizing the nation for war. The Foreword implies that Congress and the press were intended audiences, as it seemed clear that they were unaware that the mobilization of civilian production would be a greater challenge than the military effort.

American Decades, 1900-1909

– 1910-1919

– 1920-1929

– 1930-1939

– 1940-1949

– 1950-1959

– 1960-1969

– 1970-1979

– 1980-1989

Tompkins, Vincent, et al., eds.
Thompson Gale 1994-1996 Dewey Dec. 973.9

“Changes and challenges unique to each 10-year period are covered with extraordinary depth and thoroughness in ‘American Decades’. Each volume begins with a chronology of world events to provide a context for the American experience. Next, readers can explore American life during the decade from 12 separate perspectives: The Arts, Business and the Economy, Education, Fashion, Government and Politics, Law, Lifestyles and Social Trends, Media, Medicine and Health, Religion, Science and Technology, Sports. Each article includes articles covering headlines and headline-makers, awards, achievements and other enlightening and entertaining facts reported in an engaging style.” – Book cover.

Cold War: A Student Encyclopedia (5 Volumes) – History of the US 20th Century

Tucker, Spencer, ed.

Offers vivid portrayals of leading individuals, significant battles, economic developments, societal/cultural events, changes in military technology, and major treaties and diplomatic agreements. The nearly 1,100 entries, plus topical essays and a documents volume, draw heavily on recently opened Russian, Eastern European, and Chinese archives.

The Hungry Years: A Narrative History of the Great Depression in America

Watkins, T. H.
Holt 1999 Dewey Dec. 973.91

“The Hungry Years tells the story of the Great Depression through the eyes of the people who lived it. Less concerned with the power brokers in Washington than with the daily struggles of ordinary people at the grassroots across America, it draws on little-known oral histories, memoirs, local press, and scholarly monographs to capture the voices of men and women in a time of extreme crisis. The result is a richly detailed narrative that traces the stages of the disaster chronologically without losing touch with the personal wounds it inflicted or the ways in which people responded.” -Publisher

The vignettes Watkins selects are gritty, visceral, and seamlessly sutured to the federal programs that rolled out in the course of the decade, making this a signal addition to the rich historiography of the Depression.” – Booklist.

The Muckrakers

The Era in Journalism that Moved America to Reform – The Most Significant Magazine Articles of 1902-1912

Weinberg, Arthur & Lila, eds.
Putnam 1964 Dewey Dec. 973.91

“At beginning of the twentieth century America was brought to the shocking awareness that its society was not the best of all possible worlds by a startling new kind of journalism which Roosevelt named muckraking. The muckrakers sought out corruption in all its deepest hide-outs, and when they found it they proclaimed it in headlines across the country. They became famous overnight and have remained so for fifty years. Among the muckrakers are some of the most brilliant journalists of our century. Their greatest achievements arc gathered here: startling revelations on every conceivable source of corruption—from politics to white slavery, big business to patent medicine, bought votes to child labor. No subject was too delicate for these writers, no evil too gross for their attention. They were “the publicity men for reform,” the press agents for the Progressive Movement.” -Book jacket.

The American Century: The Rise and Decline of the United States as a World Power

White, Donald W.
Yale Univ. 1996 Dewey Dec. 973.9

“Drawing on the writings of leading intellectuals, speeches by politicians, popular periodicals, movies and television, opinion polls, and dozens of other sources, White explores what Americans thought about power in the twentieth century, how they evaluated America’s expanding world role and the confrontation of the Cold War, and how they perceived the erosion of this unprecedented accumulation of power in the years after the Vietnam War. With colorful anecdotal details, White presents a new perspective on foreign affairs during these years, recounting the global spread of American democratic philosophy, technology, industrial goods, literature, arts, and way of life against a backdrop of military crises and diplomatic negotiations.” – Publisher.

The Year the Dream Died: Revisiting 1968 in America

Witcover, Jules
Warner 1997 Dewey Dec. 973.92

Month by month, Witcover re-creates 1968 as he travels with, and reports on, the political fortunes of Lyndon Johnson, Eugene McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Robert Kennedy, George Romney, and Hubert Humphrey. He conveys the actual words of national figures and commentary by rock artists, media people, economists, Vietnam veterans, and Haight-Ashbury hippies. That year Witcover crossed the country from New Hampshire to California; he was standing on the rioting streets of Washington with Robert Kennedy after King was shot; he was in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel the night Kennedy was gunned down. An eyewitness to history, he presents a unique perspective that captures the mood of a nation and the life of ordinary people as shattering news erupts from assassins’ bullets and backroom deals. Witcover broadens our understanding of how that year sowed the seeds of liberalism’s demise, the shame of Watergate, Reagan’s long reign, and today’s new Democratic agenda.

The New World of Science; its Development during the War

Yerkes, Robert Means, ed.
NY: Century 1920 Dewey Dec. 973.91

Essays by numerous authors on a wide variety of topics.

Contents: (Some of the articles in this collection) Science and War – Some Scientific Aspects of the Meteorological Work of the U.S. Army – War-time Photography – Optical Glass for War Needs – The Supply of Nitrogen Products for the Manufacture of Explosives – Contributions of Geology – The War Service of the Medical Profession – Some Diseases Prevalent in the Army – How Psychology Happened into the War – The National Research Council.

The Wilson Administration and the Great War

Young, Ernest William
Boston: Badger 1922 Dewey Dec. 973.91

“The following pages attempt to treat of Functioning – Governmental Functioning at a time of peculiar crisis in the nation’s career. They do not assume to be a history of the Great War.” – Author’s Preface

Contents: Coming storm and preparation – Food administration – Fuel administration – Labor and wages – Ship-buildng – Government railroading – Secretary Baker and Mr. Creel in war – Post-office department – Press and public opinion – Liquor and vice – Russia and Bolshevism – Disloyalty – Looking toward peace – World’s Peace Congress – Treaty of Paris – League of Nations – Administration and politics – Wilson and Wilsonism – Profiteering – Reconstruction – Insurance and compensation – Spirit of America.

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