Grand Expectations

Grand Expectations : United States, 1945-74

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This latest volume in the Oxford History of the United States series skilfully weaves together political, social, cultural, and economic history to present a fascinating survey of postwar America. James Patterson identifies two major principles guiding American life in the 1945-1974 period. Firstly, the economic dominance and unparalleled affluence that led the American people to expect that they could live the `good life'. Secondly, the nation's overwhelming military power - which the U.S. government attempted to use to spread American policies and values throughout the world. The narrative takes us from the astonishing economic progress of the 1950s - when America established itself as `the leader of the Free World', to the tumultuous events of the 1960s, and the quagmire of Vietnam that shattered the nation's confidence by 1968, and drove President Lyndon Johnson from office. The years that followed saw a period of disillusionment, raging inflation at home, and a strong move away from the reform spirit of the 1960s. Patterson does a masterly job of pulling all the diverse strands of his narrative into a coherent and compelling story that engages the reader on every page.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 946 pages
  • 162.56 x 243.84 x 68.58mm | 1,224.69g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 32 pp plates, maps, bibliography
  • 019507680X
  • 9780195076806

Review quote

"Lucid, engrossing, and provocative, Grand Expectations brilliantly captures America from World War II to Watergate. If you can read only one book about the United States between World War II and Watergate, choose this one. Even when you disagree with it, you will admire and enjoy it."--Laura Kalman, Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara"James Patterson is one of America's most eminent historians of modern America, and this sweeping synthesis of our recent past displays his great gifts as a scholar and writer in full measure. Grand Expectations is a bold and engaging narrative. It also proposes a series of challenging and at times surprising interpretations of the postwar era."--Alan Brinkley, Professor of History, Columbia University"Grand Expectations fulfills all the requirements for an important work of history--broad learning expressed in lucid prose and punctuated by thoughtful interpretations. What's more, it's also a good read."--John Morton Blum, Department of History, Yale University"Patterson offers us a magisterial overview of American public life from the end of World War II to the close of the Nixon era. His readable, even fast-paced account is solidly grounded in scholarship, and frequently displays a strking originality. There is no better guide to the history of these years."--Otis L. Graham, Jr., Professor of History Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara"Grand Expectations is simply the best single book about the unique and fascinating period of American history between 1945-1974. Patterson's fast-paced narrative is filled with vivid portraits, interesting facts, illuminating insights, and thoughtful and judicious commentary. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the roots of America's contemporary discontent."--Steven M. Gillon, University Lecturer in American History, Oxford University"The three decades following World War II constituted a unique moment in American history, a triumphal and confident age against which, for better or worse, we now judge our own era. In Grand Expectations, James Patterson vividly renders the complex energies and abundant ironies of those years. He brilliantly illuminates the promises and perils of postwar prosperity, the achievements and agonies of the 'rights revolution, ' and the costs and calamities of the Cold War, including Vietnam. Clear, colorful, comprehensive, and studded with provocative judgements, Grand Expectations is a grand history that richly rewards the specialist and the general reader alike."--David M. Kennedy, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Stanford University "Lucid, engrossing, and provocative, Grand Expectations brilliantly captures America from World War II to Watergate. If you can read only one book about the United States between World War II and Watergate, choose this one. Even when you disagree with it, you will admire and enjoy it."--Laura Kalman, Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara "James Patterson is one of America's most eminent historians of modern America, and this sweeping synthesis of our recent past displays his great gifts as a scholar and writer in full measure. Grand Expectations is a bold and engaging narrative. It also proposes a series of challenging and at times surprising interpretations of the postwar era."--Alan Brinkley, Professor of History, Columbia University "Grand Expectations fulfills all the requirements for an important work of history--broad learning expressed in lucid prose and punctuated by thoughtful interpretations. What's more, it's also a good read."--John Morton Blum, Department of History, Yale University "Patterson offers us a magisterial overview of American public life from the end of World War II to the close of the Nixon era. His readable, even fast-paced account is solidly grounded in scholarship, and frequently displays a strking originality. There is no better guide to the history of these years."--Otis L. Graham, Jr., Professor of History Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara "Grand Expectations is simply the best single book about the unique and fascinating period of American history between 1945-1974. Patterson's fast-paced narrative is filled with vivid portraits, interesting facts, illuminating insights, and thoughtful andjudicious commentary. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the roots of America's contemporary discontent."--Steven M. Gillon, University Lecturer in American History, Oxford University "The three decades following World War II constituted a unique moment in American history, a triumphal and confident age against which, for better or worse, we now judge our own era. In Grand Expectations, James Patterson vividly renders the complex energies and abundant ironies of those years. He brilliantly illuminates the promises and perils of postwar prosperity, the achievements and agonies of the 'rights revolution, ' and the costs and calamities of the Cold War, including Vietnam. Clear, colorful, comprehensive, and studded with provocative judgements, Grand Expectations is a grand history that richly rewards the specialist and the general reader alike."--David M. Kennedy, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Stanford University "Lucid, engrossing, and provocative, Grand Expectations brilliantly captures America from World War II to Watergate. If you can read only one book about the United States between World War II and Watergate, choose this one. Even when you disagree with it, you will admire and enjoy it."--Laura Kalman, Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara "James Patterson is one of America's most eminent historians of modern America, and this sweeping synthesis of our recent past displays his great gifts as a scholar and writer in full measure. Grand Expectations is a bold and engaging narrative. It also proposes a series of challenging and at times surprising interpretations of the postwar era."--Alan Brinkley, Professor of History, Columbia University "Grand Expectations fulfills all the requirements for an important work of history--broad learning expressed in lucid prose and punctuated by thoughtful interpretations. What's more, it's also a good read."--John Morton Blum, Department of History, Yale University "Patterson offers us a magisterial overview of American public life from the end of World War II to the close of the Nixon era. His readable, even fast-paced account is solidly grounded in scholarship, and frequently displays a strking originality. There is no better guide to the history of these years."--Otis L. Graham, Jr., Professor of History Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara "Grand Expectations is simply the best single book about the unique and fascinating period of American history between 1945-1974. Patterson's fast-paced narrative is filled with vivid portraits, interestingfacts, illuminating insights, and thoughtful and judicious commentary. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the roots of America's contemporary discontent."--Steven M. Gillon, University Lecturer in American History, Oxford University "The three decades following World War II constituted a unique moment in American history, a triumphal and confident age against which, for better or worse, we now judge our own era. In Grand Expectations, James Patterson vividly renders the complex energies and abundant ironies of those years. He brilliantly illuminates the promises and perils of postwar prosperity, the achievements and agonies of the 'rights revolution, ' and the costs and calamities of the Cold War, including Vietnam. Clear, colorful, comprehensive, and studded with provocative judgements, Grand Expectations is a grand history that richly rewards the specialist and the general reader alike."--David M. Kennedy, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Stanford University "Lucid, engrossing, and provocative, Grand Expectations brilliantly captures America from World War II to Watergate. If you can read only one book about the United States between World War II and Watergate, choose this one. Even when you disagree with it, you will admire and enjoy it."--LauraKalman, Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara"James Patterson is one of America's most eminent historians of modern America, and this sweeping synthesis of our recent past displays his great gifts as a scholar and writer in full measure. Grand Expectations is a bold and engaging narrative. It also proposes a series of challenging and at timessurprising interpretations of the postwar era."--Alan Brinkley, Professor of History, Columbia University"Grand Expectations fulfills all the requirements for an important work of history--broad learning expressed in lucid prose and punctuated by thoughtful interpretations. What's more, it's also a good read."--John Morton Blum, Department of History, Yale University"Patterson offers us a magisterial overview of American public life from the end of World War II to the close of the Nixon era. His readable, even fast-paced account is solidly grounded in scholarship, and frequently displays a strking originality. There is no better guide to the history of theseyears."--Otis L. Graham, Jr., Professor of History Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara"Grand Expectations is simply the best single book about the unique and fascinating period of American history between 1945-1974. Patterson's fast-paced narrative is filled with vivid portraits, interesting facts, illuminating insights, and thoughtful andjudicious commentary. It is essentialreading for anyone who wants to understand the roots of America's contemporary discontent."--Steven M. Gillon, University Lecturer in American History, Oxford University"The three decades following World War II constituted a unique moment in American history, a triumphal and confident age against which, for better or worse, we now judge our own era. In Grand Expectations, James Patterson vividly renders the complex energies and abundant ironies of those years. Hebrilliantly illuminates the promises and perils of postwar prosperity, the achievements and agonies of the 'rights revolution, ' and the costs and calamities of the Cold War, including Vietnam. Clear, colorful, comprehensive, and studded with provocative judgements, Grand Expectations is a grandhistory that richly rewards the specialist and the general reader alike."--David M. Kennedy, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Stanford University
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About James T. Patterson

About the Author: James T. Patterson is Ford Foundation Professor of History at Brown University.
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Rating details

798 ratings
4.02 out of 5 stars
5 34% (268)
4 42% (334)
3 19% (155)
2 3% (26)
1 2% (15)
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