New Spirits

New Spirits : Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905

3.6 (106 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The Gilded Age is one of the most crucial periods in American history. During this era, Americans found themselves no longer living in a rural republic, but rather in an industrial world power. It was a time when the nation had to redefine itself and attempt to construct responses to the many questions that the Civil War had raised and left unanswered. "New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905" provides a comprehensive look at this fascinating period in our nation's history. While these years are often viewed as a time when our country displayed a gilded facade that hid a rotten core, Rebecca Edwards moves beyond this idea to seek other, more complex perspectives. She asserts that this epoch was full of contradictions. It was a time when land stolen from Native Americans provided security and comfort to desperate immigrants and mining brought the hope of fabulous riches for prospectors, along with the reality of industrial labor and unpredictable profits. African-American land ownership grew while full equality remained elusive and the ranks of the poor grew as quickly as the ranks of the prosperous.Many long-awaited triumphs dissolved into bitter confusion while others produced broad, tangible gains. However, Edwards does not dwell only on stories of tragedy and injustice, but also on lessons of humor, endurance, and achievement. Featuring documents, photographs, illustrations, and graphs on such topics as homes, violence, work, and well-known figures, the book is divided into three parts. Part I covers the years up to the depression of 1893, Part II explores the depression, its aftermath, and the years 1896-1901, and Part III offers a concluding section on the era as a whole.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 302 pages
  • 154.9 x 231.1 x 17.8mm | 385.56g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Numerous halftones, tables
  • 0195147294
  • 9780195147292

Table of contents

Timeline; Introduction (1871): Democratic Vistas; PART I. THE WEDGE; 1. An Uneasy Peace; 2. Reach; 3. Work; 4. Money; PART II. THE EXCHANGE; 5. Youth; 6. Sex; 7. Science; 8. Faith; PART III. THE FIRES; 9. A State of War; 10. Cooperative Dreams; 11. Executive Powers; Epilogue (1904): The Hippopotamus and the Partridgesshow more

Review quote

"Rebecca Edwards' analysis reveals the complex dichotomy of angst and optimism that filled the decades from 1865 to 1905. This is not the romanticized story of a more innocent time. Instead, New Spirits uncovers a complex period of economic, political, and cultural diversity that mapped the main pathways to the contemporary United States in a global context."--Kriste Lindenmeyer, University of Maryland-Baltimore County"Finally, we have a fresh historical interpretation of the most neglected half-century in American history. Edwards has done the seemingly impossible--written a book that keeps a superb balance between the material, regional, political, religious, ethnic, and literary sides of the story; purveys key facts in a highly readable way; never bogs down in abstraction; and, at moments, is humorous to boot. Not only is she sensitive to class, cultural, racial, and gender diversity both in her text's scope and tone, she also sounds themes whose continuity with the present any reader can easily discern. This book should have the classic staying power and meet the same needs of that favorite text of an earlier generation, Robert Wiebe's The Search for Order."-- Louise W. Knight, author of Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracyshow more

Rating details

106 ratings
3.6 out of 5 stars
5 12% (13)
4 48% (51)
3 29% (31)
2 8% (9)
1 2% (2)
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