Restless Giant

Restless Giant : The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore

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Restless Giant is a magisterial interpretation of American history between 1974, when the crisis of Watergate imperiled the nation, and November 2000, when the bitterly contested presidential election marked an all-time low in confidence in the electoral process. James T. Patterson, whose earlier contribution to the Oxford History of the United States, Grand Expectations (1996), won a Bancroft Prize for History, offers in this follow-up volume a vivid narrative of this quarter century which did so much to shape American life today. A host of memorable characters, notably Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, sought to transform the nation. Conservatives, including a resurgent Religious Right, battled liberals in 'culture wars' that appeared to cut the country in two. The frightening Cold War finally ended, whereupon Americans faced bewildering new developments in international relations. Though a military colossus, the United States discovered-in Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq-that it was far from easy to direct the outcome of overseas events. Restless Giant explores a wide range of cultural, social, and economic concerns. Many of these-abiding racial tensions, rising income inequality, dismal inner-city schools, tasteless popular entertainment, an ever more exuberant materialism-drove critics to label these years as an 'Era of Conflict', an 'Age of Limits', and an 'Era of Decline'. Patterson, highlighting the buoyancy of American culture, is not so pessimistic. The economy, having wallowed in 'stagflation' between 1974 and 1982, later surged ahead. By 2000, most Americans lived far more comfortably than they had in the 1970s. Thanks to rising tolerance and a powerful rights consciousness, many groups-racial and ethnic minorities, Catholics and Jews, women, the handicapped, senior citizens, gay people-encountered considerably less bigotry and discrimination than they had in the more

Product details

  • Hardback | 496 pages
  • 160 x 236.2 x 40.6mm | 861.84g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 32 pp halftone plates
  • 019512216X
  • 9780195122169
  • 1,284,371

About James T. Patterson

James T. Patterson is the author of Grand Expectations: The United States 1945-1974, for which he won the Bancroft Prize in history, and numerous other books, including Brown V. Board: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy. He was Ford Foundation Professor of History (Emeritus) at Brown University and the recipient of numerous fellowships and honors, including the Harmsworth professorship at the University of more

Review quote

Paul Kennedy, Washington Post Book World, 18 September 2006 "This splendid and readable new book is the latest volume in that ambitious series, "The Oxford History of the United States.".....Patterson has risen magnificently to the task of describing and analyzing this rich and confused period.....Restless Giant is extraordinarily sharp in its repeated references to and use of American popular culture...he is excellent in his coverage of the rise of the ultra-conservative right." "...brilliant and stylish history of the US from Richard Nixon to Bush." * Robert Taylor, Tribune * Patterson's real passion, and real talent, is for political history...The sections on the Iran-Contra affair and the Bill Clinton impeachment are especially vivid and effective. * Jon Wiener, The Journal of American History *show more

Rating details

415 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 19% (77)
4 47% (193)
3 29% (122)
2 4% (16)
1 2% (7)
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