Monday, July 04, 2011

The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America 1932-72          Cultural and Historical America
The Glory and the Dream:  A Narrative History of America 1932-72 

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."  
-  F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is history that reads like a novel. Beginning with the advent of the Roosevelt administration in 1932 William Manchester chronicles the cultural history of America through the subsequent four decades ending with the beginning of the second Nixon administration. Through all those years Manchester highlights the events that animated the American people and had a profound impact on life in America. Whether it was life during the depression, the home front of WWII, the rise of corporate America, or the turbulent sixties with protest and more war the book provides a clear if breathtaking narrative of the immensity of change. His coverage includes the famous whether they are political like Truman and McCarthy or cultural icons like Hepburn and Tracy. Fads are not neglected as evidenced by discussions of Swing music, victory gardens, and hula hoops. The major social movements range from the bonus marchers to The Silent Generation to the Woodstock Generation. For those readers, like myself, who experienced some of those events (the fifties and sixties in my case) the book becomes an interesting blend of history and nostalgia. But no matter what your age, Manchester is a good historian and writer who is a joy to read.

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