When America Was Great by Kevin Mattson
The Fighting Faith of Liberalism in Post-War America

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A sweeping intellectual history that will make us rethink postwar politics and culture, When America Was Great profiles the thinkers and writers who crafted a new American liberal tradition in a conservative era -- from historians Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and C. Vann Woodward, to economist John Kenneth Galbraith and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.

A compelling tale that will redefine the word "liberal" for a new generation, Mattson retraces the intellectual journey of these towering figures. They served in the Second World War. They opposed communism but also wanted to make America's poor visible to the affluent society. Contrary to those who characterize liberals as naïve or sentimental "bleeding hearts," they had a tough-minded and nuanced vision that stressed both human limitations and hope. They felt America should stand for something more than just a strong economy.

About Kevin Mattson

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Kevin Mattson is the Connor Study Professor of Contemporary History at Ohio University. He is the author of Rebels All!, When America Was Great, Upton Sinclair and the Other American Century, Intellectuals in Action, and "What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?" Mattson writes for the American Prospect, Dissent, the Nation, the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World, and many other publications.
Published April 30, 2006 by Routledge. 244 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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After the war, working through messengers such as the New York Post (now anything but liberal) and various journals of opinion, they offered close analyses of government policy and promoted social service and responsibility: thus their rejection of consumer culture for giving “priority to private...

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Mattson also cedes ground to liberalism's critics, admitting that his egghead elite ""traveled in a world of white men"" and that because ""liberalism embraces complexity and nuance over simple sloganeering, it is a foreign language to the shouting world of pundits."" Yet, by failing to extrapola...

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