American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century

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Princeton University Press, 2002 - 454 páginas

This sweeping history of twentieth-century America follows the changing and often conflicting ideas about the fundamental nature of American society: Is the United States a social melting pot, as our civic creed warrants, or is full citizenship somehow reserved for those who are white and of the right ancestry? Gary Gerstle traces the forces of civic and racial nationalism, arguing that both profoundly shaped our society.

After Theodore Roosevelt led his Rough Riders to victory during the Spanish American War, he boasted of the diversity of his men's origins- from the Kentucky backwoods to the Irish, Italian, and Jewish neighborhoods of northeastern cities. Roosevelt's vision of a hybrid and superior American race, strengthened by war, would inspire the social, diplomatic, and economic policies of American liberals for decades. And yet, for all of its appeal to the civic principles of inclusion, this liberal legacy was grounded in Anglo-Saxon culture, making it difficult in particular for Jews and Italians and especially for Asians and African Americans to gain acceptance.

Gerstle weaves a compelling story of events, institutions, and ideas that played on perceptions of ethnic/racial difference, from the world wars and the labor movement to the New Deal and Hollywood to the Cold War and the civil rights movement. We witness the remnants of racial thinking among such liberals as FDR and LBJ; we see how Italians and Jews from Frank Capra to the creators of Superman perpetuated the New Deal philosophy while suppressing their own ethnicity; we feel the frustrations of African-American servicemen denied the opportunity to fight for their country and the moral outrage of more recent black activists, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer, and Malcolm X.

Gerstle argues that the civil rights movement and Vietnam broke the liberal nation apart, and his analysis of this upheaval leads him to assess Reagan's and Clinton's attempts to resurrect nationalism. Can the United States ever live up to its civic creed? For anyone who views racism as an aberration from the liberal premises of the republic, this book is must reading.

 

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LibraryThing Review

Crítica de los usuarios  - Scapegoats - LibraryThing

A very well-written, easy to read examination of US nationalism. Gerstle claims that US nationalism was based on conflicting ideas of civic and racial nationalism. Civic refers to the ideas of ... Leer comentario completo

American crucible: race and nation in the twentieth century

Crítica de los usuarios  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Beginning with an analysis of Theodore Roosevelt's New Nationalism and Square Deal platforms, historian Gerstle examines how the concepts of race and nation influenced U.S. history in the 20th century ... Leer comentario completo

Contenido

Theodore Roosevelts Racialized Nation 18901900
14
A History of the American Race
17
War Renewal and the Problem of the Smoked Yankee
25
Civic Nationalism and Its Contradictions 18901917
44
True Americanism
47
Racial Dilemmas
59
The New Nationalism
65
Hardening the Boundaries of the Nation 19171929
81
Combat and White Male Comradeship
220
The Cold War Anticommunism and a Nation in Flux 19461960
238
War Repression and Nation Building
241
The Red Scare and the Decline of Racial Nationalism
246
The Case of Immigration Reform
256
Civil Rights White Resistance and Black Nationalism 19601968
268
Civil Rights and Civic Nationalism
270
The Crisis in Atlantic City
286

War and Discipline
83
Keeping Pure the Blood of America
95
Civic Nationalism in the New Racial Regime
115
Aborting the New Nationalism
122
The Rooseveltian Nation Ascendant 19301940
128
A Kinder and Gender Nation Builder
131
Radicalizing the Civic Nationalist Creed
139
Conservative Counterattack
156
The Survival of Racialized Nationalism
162
Good War Race War 19411945
187
The Good War
189
Race War
201
The Militarys Hidden Race War
210
Speaking as a Victim of This American System
295
Vietnam Cultural Revolt and the Collapse of the Rooseveltian Nation 19681975
311
A Catastrophic War
313
The Spread of AntiAmericanism and the Revolt against Assimilation
327
The Collapse of the Rooseveltian Nation
342
Beyond the Rooseveltian Nation 19752000
347
Varieties of Multiculturalism
349
Ronald Reagan and the Nationalist Renaissance
357
Reviving the Liberal Nation
365
Notes
375
Index
439
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Acerca del autor (2002)

Gary Gerstle is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Historical Studies at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Working-Class Americanism, a coauthor of Liberty, Equality, and Power: A History of the American People, and the coeditor of The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order, 1930-1980 (Princeton) and E Pluribus Unum? Immigrants, Civic Life, and Political Incorporation (forthcoming).

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