20th Century History Books

20th Century History Books


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Responds to the "Grand Challenges in Environmental Sciences" identified several years ago by the U.S. National Research Council, with attention to topics such as biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, hyrologic forecasting, and land-use dynamics. This popular and classic text chronicles America's roller-coaster journey through the decades since World War II. Considering both the paradoxes and the possibilities of postwar America, William H. Chafe portrays the significant cultural and political themes that have colored our country's past and present, including issues of race, class, gender, foreign policy, and economic and social reform. He examines such subjects as the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, the origins and the end of the Cold War, the culture of the 1970s, the rise of the New Right, the events of September 11th and their aftermath, and various presidencies. Now thoroughly revised and updated, the seventh edition of The Unfinished Journey combines and reorganizes several chapters.

In August 1981, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) called an illegal strike. The new president, Ronald Reagan, fired the strikers, establishing a reputation for both prompt resolution and hostility to organized labor. As Joseph A. McCartin writes, the strike was the culmination of two decades of bitter hostility between labor management that stemmed from the high-pressure nature of the job and the controllers>' lack of control in the workplace. The fall of PATCO not only ushered in a long period of labor decline; it also served as a harbinger for the current campaign against public sector unions that now roils American politics. Collision Course sets the strike within a vivid panorama of the rise and near fall of the world>'s busiest air-traffic control system. It begins with an arresting account of the mid-air collision in 1960 over Park Slope, Brooklyn that cost 134 lives and exposed the weaknesses of an overburdened system. Through the stories of controllers like Mike Rock and Jack Maher, who were galvanized into action by the disaster and went on to found PATCO, McCartin describes the camaraderie and professionalism of those who sought to both make the airways safer and enter the ranks of a burgeoning middle class. It climaxes with the story of Reagan and the controllers, who surprisingly endorsed the Republican on the promise that he would address controllers>' grievances. That brief, fateful alliance triggered devastating miscalculations that changed the course of history, establishing patterns that still govern America>'s labor politics. Written with an eye for detail and a grasp of the vast consequences of PATCO conflict for both air travel and America>'s working class, Collision Course is a stunning achievement.

When George Washington bade farewell to his officers, he did so in New York's Fraunces Tavern. When Andrew Jackson planned his defense of New Orleans against the British in 1815, he met Jean Lafitte in a grog shop. And when John Wilkes Booth plotted with his accomplices to carry out a certain assassination, they gathered in Surratt Tavern. In America Walks into a Bar, Christine Sismondo recounts the rich and fascinating history of an institution often reviled, yet always central to American life. She traces the tavern from England to New England, showing how even the Puritans valued "a good Beere." With fast-paced narration and lively characters, she carries the story through the twentieth century and beyond, from repeated struggles over licensing and Sunday liquor sales, from the Whiskey Rebellion to the temperance movement, from attempts to ban "treating" to Prohibition and repeal. As the cockpit of organized crime, politics, and everyday social life, the bar has remained vital--and controversial--down to the present. In 2006, when the Hurricane Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act was passed, a rider excluded bars from applying for aid or tax breaks on the grounds that they contributed nothing to the community. Sismondo proves otherwise: the bar has contributed everything to the American story. In this heady cocktail of agile prose and telling anecdotes, Sismondo offers a resounding toast to taprooms, taverns, saloons, speakeasies, and the local hangout where everybody knows your name.

The gentrification of Brooklyn has been one of the most striking developments in recent urban history. Considered one of the city's most notorious industrial slums in the 1940s and 1950s, Brownstone Brooklyn by the 1980s had become a post-industrial landscape of hip bars, yoga studios, and beautifully renovated, wildly expensive townhouses. In The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn, Suleiman Osman offers a groundbreaking history of this unexpected transformation. Challenging the conventional wisdom that New York City's renaissance started in the 1990s, Osman locates the origins of gentrification in Brooklyn in the cultural upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. Gentrification began as a grassroots movement led by young and idealistic white college graduates searching for "authenticity" and life outside the burgeoning suburbs. Where postwar city leaders championed slum clearance and modern architecture, "brownstoners" (as they called themselves) fought for a new romantic urban ideal that celebrated historic buildings, industrial lofts and traditional ethnic neighborhoods as a refuge from an increasingly technocratic society. Osman examines the emergence of a "slow-growth" progressive coalition as brownstoners joined with poorer residents to battle city planners and local machine politicians. But as brownstoners migrated into poorer areas, race and class tensions emerged, and by the 1980s, as newspapers parodied yuppies and anti-gentrification activists marched through increasingly expensive neighborhoods, brownstoners debated whether their search for authenticity had been a success or failure. The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn deftly mixes architectural, cultural and political history in this eye-opening perspective on the post-industrial city.

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Put To Work tells the story of the massive government job-creation programs of the 1930s—not only the Works Progress Administration (WPA), but also the lesser known Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and Civil Works Administration (CWA), which set the framework for the ideological and policy battles that followed. Nancy E. Rose details the development of these programs, the pressures that surrounded them, and the resulting constraints. She analyzes both their unique contributions and their shortcomings, especially in their treatment of women and African-Americans. This second edition includes a new introduction and afterword by the author in which she examines the Obama administration’s economic stimulus program in historical perspective.

Starting from its original conception and design by the owners and naval architects at the White Star Line through construction at Harland and Wolff's shipyards in Belfast, Nick Barratt explores the pre-history of the Titanic. He examines the aspirations of the owners, the realities of construction and the anticipation of the first sea-tests, revealing that the seeds of disaster were sown by the failure to implement sealed bulkheads - for which the original plans are now available. Barratt then looks at what it was like to embark on the Titanic's maiden voyage in April 1912. The lives of various passengers are examined in more detail, from the first class aristocrats enjoying all the trappings of privilege, to the families in third-class and steerage who simply sought to leave Britain for a better life in America. Similarly, the stories of representatives from the White Star Line who were present, as well as members of the crew, are told in their own words to give a very different perspective of the voyage. Finally, the book examines the disaster itself, when Titanic struck the iceberg on 14 April and sunk hours later. Survivors from passengers and crew explain what happened, taking you back in time to the full horror of that freezing Atlantic night when up to 1,520 people perished. The tragedy is also examined from the official boards of inquiry, and its aftermath placed in a historic context - the damage to British prestige and pride, and the changes to maritime law to ensure such an event never took place again. The book concludes by looking at the impact on those who escaped, and what became of them in the ensuing years; and includes the words of the last living survivor, Millvina Dean.

In early 1961 President John F. Kennedy gave the go-ahead to an existing plan for Cuban exiles to return to overthrow Fidel Castro's communist regime. While the CIA helped in the planning stages, the attempt would not be assisted by any US armed forces. On the night of April 16, 1961, a force of 1,400 exiles, known as 2506 Brigade, landed at the Bay of Pigs on the south coast of Cuba, supported by a few World War II vintage aircraft flying from Nicaragua. While they succeeded in knocking out some of Castro's small air force on the ground, the remaining Cuban aircraft sank two of the exiles' support ships, and the beachhead became isolated. Fighting continued for three days before Castro's army overwhelmed the landing force. Most of the exiles were captured and suffered a harsh imprisonment before the US negotiated their release. This episode, followed by the installation of Soviet missiles in Cuba, led directly to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, and continues to affect US/Cuban diplomatic relations to this day. This book, written by the nephew of a surviving 2506 Brigade veteran, includes detailed color plates, unpublished photographs, and interviews with veterans.

For most British people the weekend of 27/28 October 1962 could so very easily have been their last weekend on earth, yet astonishingly the fact that Britain's nuclear deterrent forces went to an unprecedented level of readiness was kept secret from the public. Thor nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles stood on a round-the-clock wartime state of alert ready to be fired, these were the 'other' missiles of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which made Britain, in effect, America's launch pad. During the height of the crisis both RAF Bomber Command and the US Strategic Air Command were poised at the highest states of readiness. Both were ordered to a level of war readiness unparalleled throughout the whole of the forty years of Cold War. There is evidence to suggest that had the US needed to launch an air strike against Russian missiles in Cuba, President Kennedy might have been willing to absorb a Soviet nuclear assault on a NATO ally without retaliation, if it would have avoided escalation to World War Three. It is sobering to those who lived through that period that, the British Ambassador to Cuba commented: 'If it was a nuclear war we were headed for, Cuba was perhaps a better place to be than Britain!'

On 15th May 1957 Vickers Valiant V-Bomber XD818 under the command of Wg Cdr Kenneth Hubbard dropped Britain's first live thermonuclear bomb. Grapple was a top secret experiment that involved units from all the UK's defence services and a multitude of leading scientists and technicians. It was based on the Christmas and Malden Islands in the Pacific Ocean, and therefore the initial transportation and logistics planning was of priority importance.

This remarkably ambitious book tells the story of the great social and political catastrophe that enveloped Europe between 1914 and 1945. In a period of almost continuous upheaval society was transformed by two world wars, the Russian Revolution, the Holocaust and the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Combining a powerful narrative with profound analysis, acclaimed historian Robert Gellately argues that these tragedies are inextricably linked and that to consider them as discrete events is to misunderstand their genesis and character. Central, of course, to the catastrophe were the dictators Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler and this book makes unprecedented use of recently opened Russian and German sources to explain how their pursuit of utopian - and dreadfully flawed - ideals led only to dystopian nightmare.

On June 5th, 1968, at L.A.'s Ambassador Hotel, Robert F. Kennedy celebrated his victory in the California Democratic primary with a rousing victory speech anticipating a successful run for the presidency. Moments later, gunshots shattered that dream: like his brother before him, Bobby Kennedy lay mortally wounded at the hand of an assassin. The police quickly apprehended Sirhan Sirhan, who the world believed had single-handedly masterminded the shooting. Shockingly, that may not be so, as documentary filmmaker Shane O'Sullivan presents powerful new evidence to the contrary.

The German Empire was founded in January 1871 not only on the basis of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck's 'blood and iron' policy but also with the support of liberal nationalists. Under Bismarck and Kaiser Wilhelm II, Germany became the dynamo of Europe. Its economic and military power were pre-eminent; its science and technology, education, and municipal administration were the envy of the world; and its avant-garde artists reflected the ferment in European culture. But Germany also played a decisive role in tipping Europe's fragile balance of power over the brink and into the cataclysm of the First World War, eventually leading to the empire's collapse in military defeat and revolution in November 1918. With contributions from an international team of twelve experts in the field, this volume offers an ideal introduction to this crucial era, taking care to situate Imperial Germany in the larger sweep of modern German history, without suggesting that Nazism or the Holocaust were inevitable endpoints to the developments charted here.

This volume brings together the most recent research on European aristocracies in the first half of the twentieth century. An international array of social and political historians analyses the aristocracies of eleven countries at a particularly testing time: the interwar years. After the First World War aristocrats were confronted with revolutions, republics, and an influx of 'Bolshevist' ideas. Debates about a new order in which aristocrats would play a leading part took place in all countries after 1918. The Mussolini model, in particular, seemed an ideal solution and had an impact on aristocrats all over Europe. Here the exchange of ideas between networks of related aristocratic families played a part in spreading pro-fascist ideas. Anti-Semitism, anti-Bolshevism, and a belief in charismatic leadership also led to admiration of leaders such as Horthy and Franco. In all countries radical right-wing movements tried to recruit aristocrats as symbolic if not strategic figureheads. Is it possible, therefore, to speak of a last flourishing of the aristocracy in countries where fascist or authoritarian regimes were successful? Or are we falling for a left-wing conspiracy theory by overestimating the aristocracy's political prowess and failing to see that they often stood as a conservative bulwark against the radical right? The book shows that if radical right-wing parties could not offer new avenues to power centres, aristocrats, despite a natural predisposition, were not tempted to join, or soon lost interest. Yet their flirtations and short-term entanglements with these movements show that they played a destructive role in the great crisis years of parliamentarism.

Weimar Germany still fascinates us, and now this complex and remarkably creative period and place has the history it deserves. Eric Weitz's new book reveals the Weimar era as a time of strikingly progressive achievements - and even greater promise. With a rich thematic narrative and detailed portraits of some of Weimar's greatest figures, this comprehensive history recaptures the excitement and drama as it unfolded, viewing Weimar in its own right - and not as a mere prelude to the Nazi era. "Weimar Germany" tells how Germans rose from the defeat of World War I and the turbulence of revolution to forge democratic institutions and make Berlin a world capital of avant-garde art. Setting the stage for this story, Weitz takes the reader on a walking tour of Berlin to see and feel what life was like there in the 1920s, when modernity and the modern city - with its bright lights, cinemas, "new women," cabarets, and sleek department stores - were new. We learn how Germans enjoyed better working conditions and new social benefits and listened to the utopian prophets of everything from radical socialism to communal housing to nudism. "Weimar Germany" also explores the period's revolutionary cultural creativity, from the new architecture of Erich Mendelsohn, Bruno Taut, and Walter Gropius to Hannah Hoch's photomontages and Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's theater. Other chapters assess the period's turbulent politics and economy, and the recipes for fulfilling sex lives propounded by new "sexologists." Yet "Weimar Germany" also shows how entrenched elites continually challenged Weimar's achievements and ultimately joined with a new radical Right led by the Nazis to form a coalition that destroyed the republic. Thoroughly up-to-date, skillfully written, and strikingly illustrated, "Weimar Germany" brings to life as never before an era of creativity unmatched in the twentieth century-one whose influence and inspiration we still feel today.

This is a highly original and revisionist analysis of British and American efforts to forge a stable Euro-Atlantic peace order between 1919 and the rise of Hitler. Patrick Cohrs argues that this order was not founded at Versailles but rather through the first 'real' peace settlements after World War I - the London reparations settlement of 1924 and the Locarno security pact of 1925. Crucially, both fostered Germany's integration into a fledgling transatlantic peace system, thus laying the only realistic foundations for European stability. What proved decisive was that key decision-makers drew lessons from the 'Great War' and Versailles' shortcomings. Yet Cohrs also re-appraises why they could not sustain the new order, master its gravest crisis - the Great Depression - and prevent Nazism's onslaught. Despite this ultimate failure, he concludes that the 'unfinished peace' of the 1920s prefigured the terms on which a more durable peace could be founded after 1945.

Prime Minister, statesman and wartime leader, master strategist, soldier, historian, orator, journalist, wit, writer and inventor - in short, a true colossus of a man - Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) was undoubtedly the greatest leader of the Second World War, and unarguably the greatest Briton of his age. Born at the height of British imperial power, and twice elected Prime Minister, he galvanized the British people and their allies to resist the onslaught from Nazi Germany and, later, Japan, and in doing became the architect of the destruction of these unquestionably evil empires. "274 Things You Should Know About Churchill" is a celebration of the man, his life and his monumental achievements, written by Patrick Delaforce, an experienced soldier and military author in his own right. It is perhaps too easy to forget that Churchill was more than an inspirational commander and figurehead to a nation. Indeed, it would be a gross dishonour to his memory to think only this of him, for because - or in spite - of his numerous and varied successes, Churchill was also a full-bloodied human being, with all of the foibles, attitude, distemper, pig-headedness and conceit that are so often the shadows of such greatness. Similarly forgotten, beyond the demands of Parliament he lived a full and varied life in an ebullient and mischievous way; sailing the seas with his wife, Clemmie, on the Admiralty yacht, HMS Enchantress, owning racehorses, playing polo, entertaining friends, all of which, and more, find a place within "274 Things You Should Know About Churchill", retold and recounted. Beautifully packaged, "274 Things You Should Know About Churchill" is, like the best miscellanies, a many-sided work; a great source of anecdotes and memories, an insight into his larger-than-life personality, a record of his often caustic yet brilliant wit, and, by the use of long out-of-print and forgotten sources, a document of his remarkable and inestimable contribution to the modern world. To contain such a man within the pages of a book is a formidable task - a man owed so much by so many, to paraphrase one of his most famous speeches - yet "274 Things You Should Know About Churchill" is, like its subject, a very notable triumph.

In 1936, Henry 'Chips' Channon gave a lavish dinner for King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson at his house in Belgrave Square. Feasting on blinis, caviare, sole and beef, served by the ruthlessly-drilled precision of Chips' staff, it was a vivid demonstration of just how far the Americans had percolated high society. The British aristocracy, impoverished by death duties, agricultural collapse and higher taxation, as well as morally shattered by the First World War, could only look on. It was as if the world had been turned upside down. As Lady Londonderry observed, it seemed as if London was 'being run by an American syndicate'. What had happened to bring about this change? How had the Americans become so powerful, so rich, so over here? "Them and Us" is a story of social upheaval, of the transformation which took place when British high society - that bastion against the forces of the New - gave in to America. A lively mix of anecdote and social history, Charles Jennings' new book brings to life the most striking characters of the time and the extravagant, high-voltage period in which they lived, giving a real sense of their follies, dramas, tragedies and longings.

In the twenty-first century, religion is making a comeback, bringing in its wake extremism of all kinds. From Christian anti-abortion campaigns to suicide bombers claiming the righteousness of Islam, we are witnessing a resurgence of fundamentalism. Michel Onfray’s response to the threat of a post-modern theocracy is to lay down the principles of an authentic atheism: exposing the fiction that is God, he proposes instead a new philosophy of reason that celebrates life and humanity. In Defence of Atheism demonstrates that organised religion is motivated by worldly, historical and political power; that the three dominant monotheisms – Christianity, Islam and Judaism – exhibit the same hatred of women, reason, the body, the passions; that religion denies life and glorifies death. Onfray exposes some uncomfortable truths: Judaism invented the extermination of a people; Jesus never existed historically; Christianity was enforced with extreme violence by Constantine; Islam is anti-Semitic, misogynist, warlike and incompatible with the values of a modern democracy.


A History of 20th Century Britain

Between the death of Queen Victoria and the turn of the Millennium, Britain has been utterly transformed by an extraordinary century of war and peace.

A History of 20th Century Britain collects together for the first time Andrew Marr's two bestselling volumes A History of Modern Britain and The Making of Modern Britain. Together, they tell the story of how the country recovered from the grand wreckage of the British Empire only to stumble into a series of monumental upheavals, from World Wars to Cold Wars and everything in between. In each decade, political leaders thought they knew what they were doing, but found themselves confounded. Every time, the British people turned out to be stroppier and harder to herd than predicted.

This wonderfully entertaining history follows all the political and economic stories, but deals too with the riotous colour of an extraordinary century: a century of trenches, flappers and Spitfires of comedy, punks, Margaret Thatcher’s wonderful good luck, and the triumph of shopping over idealism.


Top 10 eyewitness accounts of 20th-century history

One of the great fortunes of a writer chronicling Europe’s tumultuous, revolutionary 20th century is the flood of memoirs, diaries and letters that accompanied it.

It is as if the massiveness of events – the Russian Revolution, two world wars, the Holocaust, great and terrible experiments in human suffering and freedom – created a duty to bear witness. Reading these accounts often feels the best way not just to get the facts, but closer to the human impulses at play, the vicissitudes of chance, the reason and unreason of it all.

The best witnesses combine the epochal and the personal, metaphysical and mundane. They speak with immediacy and natural resonance, with life’s downbeats and absurdities, the cold and chaos as well as the grand sense-making narratives. They can even make us laugh. In my new book Crucible, I wanted to tell the story of the years 1917 to 1924 – more similar to our own times than I would like – in a similar voice, in the present tense, more like a film or novel than traditional history.

There are as many different types of witness as reader: those at the centre and at the margin, Rosa Luxemburg penning letters from a prison cell and Einstein taking down impressions of Palestine, those writing accounts with an eye to posterity (all politicians) and those without the time to think. How we read matters as much as who we read. There are those paid to make sense of the world – journalists such as Hemingway or novelists such as Nabokov or Zweig – and those whose testimony moves us through the simple miracle of survival. The trouble is to choose. Here are 10 compelling examples:

1 The Russian Revolution by Nikolai Sukhanov
It’s not hard to understand why John Reed’s Ten Days that Shook the World is the popular eyewitness account of the Bolshevik revolution: Reed and Louise Bryant’s immortalisation in Reds, Lenin’s endorsement, the fact Reed beat others to the scoop. But there are problems. In his scrapbooks in the Harvard archive you find a page where Reed tentatively writes his name in Cyrillic script. Here is a man learning revolution as he goes along, breathless with excitement. (He called Ten Days “a slice of intensified history”). Sukhanov, an insider who wound up dead at the hands of Stalin’s henchmen in 1940, is more balanced. He makes sense of the whole complex rigmarole of 1917, February as well as October, the politics as well as the passion and the personalities.

2. Bureau of Military History, Ireland
While books have traditionally been the format of published witness testimony, oral histories and archival digitisation have changed the landscape. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum site offers survivors’ video interviews. Audio projects document Indian partition and the Windrush experience. For Crucible, I found myself engrossed in digital records of grainy, typed-up statements from participants in Ireland’s bloody and intimate independence struggle, all at www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie.

Diplomat and dandy … Harry Kessler. Photograph: ullstein bild via Getty Images

3. The Diaries of Harry Kessler
Kessler has it all. Born into wealth, eternally inquisitive, an insider whose sexuality gave him an outsider’s perspective, Kessler got everywhere and met everyone from Bismarck to Josephine Baker. A diplomat as well as a dandy, he understood politics as well as art and cared for both (earning the moniker the Red Count). And he wrote brilliantly. One example: describing Berlin after the failed 1919 Communist coup as continuing on “like an elephant stabbed by a penknife”.

4. The Diaries of Wasif Jawhariyyeh
I was introduced to Jawhariyyeh while researching 1913: The World Before the Great War and was immediately captivated. An Arab Christian in late Ottoman Jerusalem who spoke English, French and Turkish and was taught the Qur’an by a local Islamic scholar, he was his city’s Harry Kesssler: a poet and musician open to all, living in a world with ever-diminishing space for such eclectics.

5. Dateline: Toronto, 1920-1924 by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway’s articles from the 1920s read like a novelist’s prep work, his eye scanning the horizon for that single observation which conveys an infinite backstory. Their veracity is secondary. They zing. He describes a 1922 press conference where new Italian premier Mussolini affects not to notice the crush around him, so engrossed is he in some heavy work of literature. Hemingway notes the actual book he pretends to read: a French-English dictionary, held upside down. This may not be true. But it should be.

6. The Devil in France by Lion Feuchtwanger
A German-Jewish anti-Nazi author, Feuchtwanger was nonetheless interned by the French in Les Milles in 1939. While Vichy made peace with Hitler, Feuchtwanger lived in fear of being given up. (This was the time of Casablanca). Defeat, imprisonment, the need to make choices: this is urgently written political and human drama. Feuchtwanger was lucky. He and his wife made it to the US.

7. If This Is a Man by Primo Levi
It was decades before Levi’s account of life and death in Auschwitz, written in 1946 while working in a Turin paint factory, took on the significance it holds today. A testament told with simplicity and directness: the details of camp life and the visceral sensations accompanying it, the accumulation of horrors, the tenuousness of hope and then, one day: “The Germans were no longer there. The watchtowers were empty.”

8. The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
From the 1920s on, westerners such as Emma Goldman and Victor Serge told their tales of Soviet disappointment, experiences from behind the veil of lies already hardening into what would become the iron curtain (a term first used by the British suffragette and socialist Ethel Snowden in 1920). Solzhenitsyn’s work is in a different, higher register: both meditation on and meticulous account of the camps so integral to the mechanisms of fear and power in Stalin’s USSR: the way skin cracks from the cold, the women faced with the awful dilemmas of survival, the Lithuanians who helped him make a rosary from stale bread. A grand indictment equal to its subject.

Joan Bright Astley. Photograph: Public Domain

9. The Inner Circle: A View of War at the Top by Joan Bright Astley
Joan Bright – trained in shorthand and typing, confident, easy to trust, keenly perceptive of others – was at the diplomatic centre of the second world war. A trusted intermediary between the top brass and Churchill, she was there in Quebec, Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam. High-level war management is never just about the (mostly male) principals: generals, diplomats and politicians with fired-up egos. There are all the things that go into making sure information gets where it should, that some small mishap does not upset the whole and personal tensions do not overwhelm the common cause. Bright’s account of her “marvellous war” gives character and verve to that reality.

10. The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich
Alexievich is the meta-witness to the Soviet experience, eyewitness to the eyewitnesses. She turns memories into folk epics and gives human scale to the awful hugeness of the “Great Patriotic War”. Here are the stories of women often drowned by what the war had become in the 1980s USSR, the stale trumpet-blare of Communist legitimacy. Then she did the same for Chernobyl, the starting point of the Soviet Union’s unravelling, as important to the century’s end as its foundation was to its start. Literature is “news that stays news”, wrote Ezra Pound. This is what Alexievich has done for her eyewitnesses: imbuing their testimony with the power of literature, thus ensuring it remains relevant for all time.


The Best History Books of 2018

Can we mine the past for clues that explain the present? That’s the central theme of many history books in 2018, as writers and historians, academic and popular alike, attempt to uncover and recount the stories that say something about the state of the world today. From a biography of one of America’s most important architects to a sprawling analysis of Shakespearean drama to a 19th century sex scandal that shocked Washington, our favorite books this year are ones that bridge the gap between where we’ve come from and where we’re going.

Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found

After a developmentally disabled white man is falsely accused of rape in 1950s Florida, journalist Mabel Norris Reese spearheaded a campaign not just to see the defend-ant, Jesse Daniels, released from confinement, but to determine what machinations motivated a small-town sheriff, intent on protecting the reputation of the white female victims at all costs, to pin the crime on him in the first place. The Washington Post calls Pulitzer Prize-winner Gilbert King’s newest book “a sobering but expertly told saga,” while The New York Times Book Review says King “exposes the sinister complexity of American racism.”

The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War

In 1856, Southern congressman Preston Brooks, enraged at an anti-slavery speech given days earlier by Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner, shocked the nation when he beat Sumner unconscious with a cane—right on the Senate floor. The caning of Charles Sumner is well known to Civil War history buffs, but it was far from the only instance of violence breaking out in government spaces in the tense years before the war officially began. To read historian Joanne Freeman’s new book, says The Nation, “is to be disabused of the notion that there is anything unprecedented in the degraded political discourse of our own day.”

The Man in the Glass House: Philip Johnson, Architect of the Modern Century

“He was a gay man with a fascist history living in a glass house, and he liked nothing better than to throw stones,” writes Mark Lamster in his biography of the legendary architect. Philip Johnson shaped the look and spirit of American buildings in the 20th century—from the iconic Glass House in Connecticut to the controversial post-Modern skyscraper at 550 Madison Avenue to his role as the first curator of architecture at the Museum of Modern Art, no other figure in post-war design looms as large. He was also an avowed Nazi sympathizer, and Lamster’s book is one that doesn’t shy away from wondering, in 2018, how much we can truly separate the man from his art.

Broken Lives: How Ordinary Germans Experienced the 20th Century

Using firsthand accounts that were mostly unpublished until now, Konrad H. Jarausch, a professor at the University of North Carolina, attempts to answer a question surely on the minds of many looking to the past to explain the present: What, really, was it like to be a German citizen of the 20th century? And what can we learn now about the minds of those who witnessed, participated in, and were victimized by unspeakable atrocities as they attempted to rebuild a new version of their nation? In revealing the innermost thoughts of so-called ‘ordinary Germans,’ Jarausch paints a picture of a nation equal parts confused, apologetic, and ultimately hopeful.

Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the "Powerless" Woman Who Took On Washington

In 1884, 17-year-old Madeline Pollard, traveling home from college in Ohio, met the much-older (and very married) Kentucky congressman William Breckinridge on a train. The two began an affair that would span a decade and produce several children. When Breckenridge, after becoming a widower, reneged on a promise to marry Pollard, she sued him for breach of promise. Patricia Miller’s book is an account of that trial, which effectively ended Breckenridge’s political career. It’s not hard to find parallels between the press’s treatment of Pollard and public portrayals of contemporary women who challenge the bad behavior of powerful men, and her eventual success in court is recounted here in thrilling detail.

The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America's Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality

The Northwest Territories were, in the early part of the 19th century, parts of the American landscape where pioneers could strike out in search of freedom, adventure, and the chance to live their ideals. In The Bone and Sinew of the Land, historian Anna-Lisa Cox explores the stories of the free black families who used the vast landscape of what would become Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin to establish more than 300 African-American settlements founded on the basis of racial equality and justice.* What Cox frames as a precursor to the Great Migration of the 20th century is an under explored part of frontier history, and one that adds nuance to the image of the American pioneer.

Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution

Telling the story of the Industrial Revolution can be done in infinite ways—it’s alternately and simultaneously one of technology, one of economics, and one of class politics. Historian Priya Satia, though, frames it as one of violence—the Industrial Revolution, she argues, is inextricably linked to the history of firearms in the United Kingdom. The book touches upon the ways in which violence, labor and capital intersect and poses fascinating questions about the complicated relationship between modern capitalism and guns.

Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (Politics and Culture in Modern America)

In the first half of the 20th century, women like Amy Jacques Garvey, Celia Jane Allen, and Mittie Maude Lena Gordon wrote, spoke and worked tirelessly on behalf of black nationalist causes, but their work has been, until now, largely overlooked. Through advocating for the idea of a free black state, these women created a global network of black activists invested in the cause. The book’s author, Keisha Blain, a professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, adds “essential chapters to the story of this movement, expanding current understanding of the central roles played by female activists at home and overseas,” says Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review.

Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics

Could Shakespeare have predicted the rise of Donald Trump? That was what many people wondered after the 2017 Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar seemingly transposed the story of America’s 45th president onto the Elizabethan re-telling of an ancient Roman drama, and it’s a subject further explored in Greenblatt’s newest book. Examining the poet and playwright’s treatment of power, politics and personality cults, says The New York Times, “Greenblatt is especially fine on the mechanisms of tyranny, its ecology, so to speak, leaving one deeply moved all over again by Shakespeare’s profound and direct understanding of what it is to be human — which includes, alas, being a tyrant.”

Behold, America: The Entangled History of "America First" and "the American Dream"

In 2013, historian Sarah Churchwell published a book examining the story behind F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and what the book said—and continues to say—about the notion of the American Dream. Five years later, Churchwell returns to the idea of the American Dream, setting it opposite another loaded phrase—“America First.” Her book is more than just the history of each phrase—it’s an assertion that America has always been a place of big dreams and of violent nationalism. From Ellis Island to the Woodrow Wilson White House and Birth of a Nation to Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” Churchwell, the Guardian proclaims, upends “what we thought we knew about America and offers history’s traditional consolation of nothing new under the sun.”

*Editor's Note, November 26, 2018: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated the book's title The Blood and Sinew of the Land, when, in fact, it is The Bone and Sinew of the Land. It also misspelled author Anna-Lisa Cox's name. The story has been edited to correct these facts.

Having trouble seeing our list of books? Turn off your ad blocker and you'll be all set. For more recommendations, check out The Best Books of 2018.


History of Document Control

While Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press ushered in an age of democratized knowledge and incipient mass culture, it also transformed the act of authorship, making writing a potentially profitable enterprise. Before the mass production of books, authorship had few financial rewards (unless a generous patron got involved). As a consequence, pre-Renaissance texts were often collaborative, and many books didn’t even list an author. The earliest concept of the copyright, from the time of the scriptoria, was who had the right to copy a book by hand. The printed book, however, was a speculative commercial enterprise, in that large numbers of identical copies could be sold. The explosive growth of the European printing industry meant that authors could potentially profit from the books they made and then wrote if their legal rights were recognized. In contemporary terms, copyright allows a person the right to exclude others from copying, distributing, and selling a work. This is a right usually given to the creator, although that right can be sold or otherwise transferred. Works not covered by copyright or for which the copyright has expired are part of the public domain , which means that they are essentially public property and can be used freely by anyone without permission or royalty payments.

The origins of contemporary copyright law are usually traced back to the Statute of Queen Anne. This law, enacted in England in 1710, was the first to recognize the legal rights of authors, though in an incomplete manner. It granted a book’s publisher 14 years of exclusive rights and legal protection, renewable for another 14-year term if the author was still living. Anyone who infringed on a copyrighted work paid a fine, half of which went to the author and half to the government. Early copyright was intended to limit monopoly and censorship, to provide a sense of stability to authors, and to promote learning by ensuring that documents would be widely accessible.

The United States established its first copyright law not long after the Declaration of Independence. The U.S. Constitution granted Congress the power “to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries” in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8. The first federal copyright law, the Copyright Law of 1790, was modeled on the Statute of Queen Anne and it similarly granted exclusive rights for 14 years, renewable for 14 more if the author was living at the end of the first term.

The “limited times” mentioned in the Constitution have steadily lengthened since the 18th century. The Copyright Act of 1909 allowed for an initial 28-year term of copyright, which was renewable for one additional 28-year term. The Copyright Act of 1976, which preempted the 1909 act, extended copyright protection to “a term consisting of the life of the author and 50 years after the author’s death,” was substantially longer than the original law’s potential 56-year term. In 1998, copyright was extended even further, to 70 years after the author’s death. The 1998 law, called the Copyright Term Extension Act, also added a 20-year extension to all currently copyrighted works. This automatic extension meant that no new works would enter the public domain until 2019 at the earliest. Critics of the Copyright Term Extension Act called it the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” because the Walt Disney Company lobbied for the law (Krasniewicz, 2010). Because of the 20-year copyright extension, Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters remained out of the public domain, which meant that they were still the exclusive property of Disney.

The 1976 law also codified the terms of fair use for the first time. Fair-use law specifies the ways in which a work (or parts of a work) under copyright could legally be used by someone other than the copyright holder for “purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.” That is, a book review quoting snippets of a book, or a researcher citing someone else’s work is not infringing on copyright. Given an Internet culture that thrives on remixes, linking, and other creative uses of source material, the boundaries of the legal definition of fair use have met with many challenges in recent years.


5. Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

Release date: Jan. 21, 2009

What it's about: There are a great number of YA novels set around WWII, but they're dominated by European settings that view the war from other fronts. Smith's award-winning historical stars an aspiring pilot named Ida Mae Jones who's desperate to join the war efforts, and who finally sees a chance when a branch of the air force is created specifically for women. But Ida Mae's father was Black, which excludes her from joining. unless she opts to pass as white.

For more great YA on America's racially marginalized during WWII and its aftermath, check out Joseph Bruchac's notable Code Talkers, about Navajo heroes, and George Takei's graphic memoir, They Called Us Enemy, about his time in internment. For an entirely different glimpse of the 1940s, try Dead to Me by Mary McCoy, which is essentially what LA Confidential would look like as a YA novel.

Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.


Complete 20th Century History for Cambridge IGCSE®

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Overview of the History

Instructor's Guides

Like the other upper-level IG teaching tools, your 320 History and Bible Parent and Student Guides walk you through each school day, so students are free to embark on their own independent study. As they work through the Student Guide, you can easily engage and track their progress with tools that include your corresponding Parent Guide (with answers and extra notes), your students' journaling and discussion.

20th Century World History

Today's world was shaped &ndash in national boundaries, in economic policy, in technological advances &ndash by the 20th Century. Sonlight 320 takes a year to look at this transformative century.

In 1900, it took days to travel from Europe to America. In 2000, it took hours. In 1900, only a wealthy few owned a car. In 2000, cars were common, if not quite universal. In 1900, even the radio had barely been invented and broadcasts were still several years away. By 2000, the radio had come and gone as primary entertainment, replaced by the television at first, and then an increasing array of electronics: cable, video games, computers, and the internet. In 1900, the airplane had not yet been invented. By 2000, men had gone to the moon, and satellites in orbit allowed many advances in communication.

It was an astonishing century.

In earlier programs, we don't study this century in depth. These years brought incredible suffering. There are the familiar tragedies: trench warfare in WWI, the Holocaust, the atom bomb. And there are the less-familiar tragedies: genocides in Europe, Asia and Africa mass starvation in China and the USSR drug wars, child labor, and human trafficking.

So it isn't as enjoyable to study this century. But it is important. And in 320, we tried to balance the horrors that occurred, with the hope of the Gospel. We include four missionary biographies (compared to the more typical one or two), because in the midst of darkness, it's good to remember that God is still at work.

Yes, the Nazi concentration camps were horrible. But God was at work even there, caring for his children in miraculous ways.

The spine, Advanced Placement World History: Modern is a complete, extensive, and succinct guide to world history. This book covers all the essential content and prepares students for the AP World History: Modern exam by exploring key historical events, including those from before 1200 and up to present-day. The text is written specifically to the new course exam framework and includes long essay questions (LEQs) and document-based questions (DBQs) along with a complete AP World History practice exam.

Biographies & Historical Fiction

Sonlight's 320 History includes 19 additional books. Among them are biographies of suffragette Lizzie Stanton and scientist Albert Einstein.

There are two classic works of fiction: All Quiet on the Western Front, set in the trenches of World War I and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, set in a Stalin prison camp in Siberia.

One book covers the establishment of Israel after World War II. One covers the unsettled experience of being a refugee.

One is about the 6000-mile trek that Mao made before he came to power. Imagine: the equivalent of fleeing across the United States and back. To write this book, the author traveled to China and interviewed survivors, 50 years later. The author's trip was 30 years ago now. An eyewitness account would no longer be possible. What a gift to be given.

This is a powerful course. I like what one customer said:

Bible / Apologetics

The Bible 310 program helps guide your older students on their way to adulthood.

Know What You Believe and Know Why You Believe are wonderful introductory texts on the Christian faith and apologetics. The compelling Mere Christianity has helped countless Christians answer those who have questions about faith. Though not as deep, How to Ruin Your Life by 40 is a highly practical wake-up call. Help kids see that the choices they make now have long-term implications for good or bad.

Estimated daily time for 20th Century World History: Student: 1 hr.

Our high school courses are separated by subject to allow customers maximum flexibility. Feel free to buy either the History or the Literature, or both, or to mix-and-match with the History and Literature of other Sonlight courses.

Advanced Placement® is a trademark registered and/or owned by the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, these products.

*AP and Advanced Placement are registered trademarks of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this product.

The items listed below are included in the selected package. Add additional items to your cart as desired.


Overview of the Literature

Instructor's Guides

The Literature 330 course can be largely selftaught. Your children are able to chart their own course with help from the Literature and Language Arts Student Guide. The corresponding Parent Guide lets you jump in at any time to assess learning or engage in meaningful discussion.

20th Century Literature

Sarita Holzmann's daughter once described 330 Literature as "an embarrassment of riches." When she helped revise the program, she came away astonished by the power and beauty in this course. With 330, I'm challenged, I'm grieved, I'm amused, I'm enthralled &ndash all by turns. That happens in the other Sonlight programs, too, but I think the emotion is more, and deeper, here.

The books follow a rough chronological progression. The school year begins with The Great Brain, a children's book set in the late 1800s. One of the chapters describes how the family got a flush toilet, the first in the town. The big struggle in this book is with an older brother who is selfish and greedy. By the end of the book, he reforms.

Contrast that with one of the last books assigned, Alas, Babylon. Although it was written in 1959, when the threat of nuclear annihilation loomed large, it reads like a modern dystopian survival thriller. Where does one go for water, when all the surrounding communities have been destroyed?

In less than 100 years, the world went from the wonder of flush toilets to the horror of nuclear annihilation.

So that's the big-picture progression.

Sonlight's 330 Lit has a range of genres: dystopian, sci fi, the Great American Novel (Gatsby), novella, lyric poetry, travel narrative (or, maybe, anthropology, or adventure), absurdism, murder mystery, thriller, memoir, Shakespearean comedy (okay, that isn't 20th Century, but it connects with another book, and &hellip it's Shakespeare!), historical fiction, and novel. Because "literary" works can be dark or difficult, the schedule tries to break up the more intense works with enjoyable, thoughtful books.

Among the more challenging works, 33 includes Brave New World, the remarkably prescient book that foresaw a culture dedicated to entertainment and pleasure.

The Great Gatsby is a compulsively readable story set in the Roaring Twenties. (One teacher challenged her students to find a single sentence they could improve on in the book, and none could. Whatever you think of the lifestyle of characters, the prose itself is stunning.)

Heart of Darkness, set in the Belgian Congo, has one of the most robust vocabularies I've ever read, and a few famous lines: "the fascination of the abomination" and, for the dissolute man facing death: "The horror! The horror!" This is an incredible book even without knowing that this is an eyewitness account of actual atrocities that took place during the reign of King Leopold.

Kafka's Metamorphosis, about a man who wakes to find himself transformed into a giant cockroach, portrays the isolation many people felt in the modern age.

Among the less-challenging works, 330 includes one of my favorite Agatha Christie novels. The world's best-selling author, she sold over a billion copies of her mysteries, known for their surprise endings. (By contrast, the Harry Potter series has sold about 450 million.) Meet the Belgiam detective Hercule Poirot as he finds out whodunit.

Kon-Tiki is the story of a man who wondered if perhaps the Polynesian Islands were settled by people sailing west from South America, rather than east from Asia. He constructed a balsa raft, recruited some men to go with him, and set afloat. This is the story of their astonishing journey.

One of the most beautiful books ever written, Cry, the Beloved Country, takes place in South Africa. A minister goes to seek his son, who has fallen into trouble in the city. Somehow the language holds the rhythms of Africa, and the words are unimaginably beautiful. In one of my favorite scenes, the grieving minister has gone to seek consolation, and sits as a preacher reads Scripture to him and the congregation: "It was not only a voice of gold, but it was the voice of a man whose heart was golden, reading from a book of golden words. And the people were silent, and Kumalo was silent, for when are three such things found in one place together?"

Whether or not your children have a voice of gold, may they have hearts of gold, and may they love the Book of golden words.

Language Arts

Fully integrated with the Literature, this year's Language Arts builds on past years and continues to develop literary analysis, creative writing, research, and essay skills, with weekly writing assignments in a range of lengths and topics.

Estimated daily time for 20th Century World Literature: Student: 1 hr.

Prefer to build your own course of study?

Create a complete course of study by mixing and matching individual high school courses. Visit sonlight.com/high-school to get started.

The items listed below are included in the selected package. Add additional items to your cart as desired.

History 320 Parent Guide ( 320-PG )

Get all the lesson plans and teaching helps you need to effectively teach History, Geography and Bible for the entire year.

History 320 Student Guide ( 320-SG )

Get the daily schedule and tools your student needs for History, Geography, and Bible for the entire year.

Literature 330 Parent Guide ( 330-PG )

Get all the lesson plans and teaching helps you need to effectively teach Literature and Language Arts for the entire year.

Literature 330 Student Guide ( 330-SG )

Get the daily schedule and tools your student needs for Literature and Language Arts for the entire year.


20th Century: Bindings for the Masses

Once mechanization was complete and the Industrial Revolution had won, books could be produced by the thousands. The 20th century saw refinements, both good and bad, in the machine-made book. Machine sewing became stronger, but adhesive binding slowly has taken over. Machine made paper has definitely gotten better over the last 50 years, but there are many brittle books from the late 19th and early 20th centuries slowly disintegrating. Despite this being the digital age, books seem to be here to stay. at least for the foreseeable future.

Author: Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939.
Title: The shadowy waters.
Publisher: London : Hodder and Stoughton, 1900.
Call Number: PR 5904 .S45 1900

Full cloth binding with gold stamping on spine and cover. Small, restrained graphic on the cover is reminiscent of late 19th century design. Head of texblock is gilded.

Author: Everett-Green, Evelyn, 1856-1932.
Title: Dickie and Dorrie at school / By Evelyn Everett-Green illustrated by Gordon Browne.
Publisher: London : Wells Gardner, Darton, 1911.
Call Number: PR 6009 .V475 D5 1911

Full cloth binding with black, white and blue stamping. With mutli-colored stamping on cloth, imagery becomes more complex and detailed.

Author: De la Mare, Walter, 1873-1956.
Title: The listeners, and other poems, by Walter De La Mare.
Publisher: New York, H. Holt and company, 1916.
Call Number: PR 6007 .E3 L5 1916

As the 20th century progressed, decoration slowly moved from the cover to the dust jacket. This full cloth binding with simple gold stamping reflects this new design sentiment.

Author: Nordhoff, Charles, 1887-1947.
Title: Mutiny on the Bounty, by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall.
Publisher: Boston, Little, Brown, and company, 1932.
Call Number: PS 3527 .O437 M8 1932

After World War I, decorated cloth bindings gave way to the printed dust jacket. This book has both. The full cloth binding has title and graphics stamped in silver and white on the spine and front cover as well as a four-color dust jacket. The endpapers are printed with an image, too.

Author: Lovecraft, H. P. (Howard Phillips), 1890-1937.
Title: The Dunwich horror.
Publisher: New York [1945]
Call Number: PS 3523 .O833 D8 1945

Although the paperbound book has been around for centuries (see limp bindings), the paperback as we know it has its start in the late 19th century. It was created as an inexpensive way to get books to the masses. The adhesive-bound form, often called &ldquoperfect bound,&rdquo was introduced shortly before World War II. This 1945 paperback features a cover graphic meant to attract the consumer&rsquos attention.

Author: Burroughs, William S. 1914-1997.
Title: The naked lunch.
Publisher: Paris, Olympia Press, [1959]
Call Number: PS 3552 .U75 N3 1959

Not all paperback books are adhesive bound. This is an example of a sewn book with unsupported paper covers. The covers are very plain with title and publisher on spine and cover. Not so common, this paper-bound book has a dust jacket.

Author: Lovecraft, H. P. (Howard Phillips), 1890-1937.
Title: Dreams and fancies.
Publisher: Sauk City, Wis., Arkham House, 1962.
Call Number: PS 3523 .O833 D7 [1962]

A typical modern hard cover binding. The full cloth binding has the title stamped on the spine with no other cover decoration. The dust jacket is meant to compel the reader to purchase this book. Unlike many of today&rsquos hard cover books, the pages in this book are sewn with thread rather than held together with glue as is the practice today.

Author: Christie, Agatha, 1890-1976.
Title: Towards zero.
Publisher: New York : Pocket Books, [1967, c1944].
Call Number: PR 6005 .H66 T6 1967

Another example of a paperback book, this one from the 1960s.

Author: Hiller, Doris.
Title: Little Big Top.
Publisher: Chicago : Children's Press, c1979.
Call Number: PS 3558 .I446 L5 1979

More recently, some books, especially children&rsquos books, have dispensed with the dust jacket and returned to imagery directly on the cover. However, instead of being stamped, these covers are now printed onto cloth or paper.


Watch the video: Timeline of 20th Century Europe!


Comments:

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  2. Hamelstun

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  5. Bosworth

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