Here is a sweeping narrative history of the United States in its epoch of greatest change, the thirty-five years from the end of the Civil War to the turn of the twentieth century, when America rose phoenix-like from catastrophe and disunion to become the wealthiest, most powerful nation on
In this fast-paced and dazzlingly colorful narrative, H.W. Brands captures the cut and thrust of American history. It was a period that saw America at its best and its worst. Former slaves were granted the rights of citizenship, only to have those rights effectively eviscerated. The West was
settled rapidly, dramatically, and brutally. Industry remade the American landscape, drawing millions from the countryside and from overseas, with promises of a better life--and then reneged on those promises amid recurrent financial panics and nationwide depressions. Women asserted themselves in
ways hardly imagined by their grandmothers, but failed to win even the most basic political right: the right to vote. Americans enthusiastically embraced a global mission for their country, only to have the world bite back violently.
Through it all, two potent forces--capitalism and democracy--contended for preeminence in American life. During most of this period, Brands shows, capitalism gained ground at democracy's expense. The last third of the nineteenth century witnessed nothing less than a capitalist revolution in
America. At the end of the period, the American political economy was more capitalist than it had ever been before--or would ever be again. Capitalism brought great benefits to the American people in terms of a rising average standard of living, but it exacted a great cost in growing inequality and
a loss of democratic control.
Written by the New York Times best-selling author H.W. Brands, Leviathan offers a panoramic portrait of that tumultuous era when America came of age.show more