Why the American Century? by Olivier Zunz
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Why the American Century?
By Olivier Zunz

Why the American Century?

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Format: Paperback

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Why the American Century? by Olivier Zunz

Book Description

Ever since Henry Luce, the publisher of "Time" and "Life," proclaimed in 1941 that the 20th century is the "American Century," many Americans have been trying to understand their role in it. In a reinterpretation of America's rise to world power, this text shows how Americans appropriated the 20th century; America's ascension was not the result of Europe's self-destruction. By the Second World War, Olivier Zunz argues, American policymakers, corporate managers, engineers, and social scientists were managing the country from within a powerful matrix of institutions devoted to fostering new knowledge. These men and women promoted a new social contract of abundance which was capable, in theory, of deradicalizing class, and their efforts helped create an American middle class defined by consumer behaviour. In the name of democracy, they promoted a controversial ideology that stressed the value of respecting differences among people. The result was a culture that allowed Americans to intervene on the world scene with the justification that they were right in doing so. The text explores the struggles of these American elites as they tried to maintain a democratic, modern mass society. While acknowledging the successes of their plans, it also reveals the limits of a system ultimately benefiting an abstract "average" consumer. Zunz goes on to show how their principles were tested on postwar Japan while Americans debated the respective merits of modernization and individualism. This book restores an appreciation of the forces that produced a unique period in American history and, at the same time, exposes the internal contradictions that would ultimately undermine Americans' belief in their own ideology.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780226994628
ISBN-10: 0226994627
Format: Paperback
(230mm x 150mm x 15mm)
Pages: 270
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 21-Jun-2000
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Olivier Zunz

Philanthropy in America by Olivier Zunz Philanthropy in America, Paperback (March 2014)

American philanthropy today expands knowledge, champions social movements, defines active citizenship, influences policymaking, and addresses humanitarian crises. How did philanthropy become such a powerful and integral force in American society? This book explores the twentieth-century growth of this phenomenon.

Tocqueville Reader by Olivier Zunz Tocqueville Reader, Paperback (August 2002)

Alexis de Tocqueville is an ancestor of modern social science and one of the most influential political thinkers of the 19th century. This reader includes his major writing, travel letters, conversations with ministers and politicians, and diary entries not originally intended for the public.

Changing Face of Inequality by Olivier Zunz Changing Face of Inequality, Paperback (April 2001)

This text offers a systematic social history of a major American city undergoing industrialization. It examines Detroit's evolution between 1880 and 1920 and discovers the way in which ethnic and class elations profoundly altered its urban scene.

Making America Corporate, 1870-1920 by Olivier Zunz Making America Corporate, 1870-1920, Paperback (June 1992)

In this groundbreaking study, Oliver Zunz examines how the growth of corporations changed

» View all books by Olivier Zunz


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Recent books by Olivier Zunz close
Philanthropy in America by Olivier Zunz
Tocqueville Reader by Olivier Zunz
Changing Face of Inequality by Olivier Zunz
Making America Corporate, 1870-1920 by Olivier Zunz
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