Why the American Century? by Olivier Zunz

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Reinterpreting our country's rise to world power, Olivier Zunz shows how American elites appropriated the twentieth century. Policymakers, corporate managers, engineers, scientists, and social scientists promoted a social contract of abundance and a controversial theory of pluralism. Their efforts created a model of middle class behavior for America and for the rest of the world.

"It should certainly be the task of historians to explain the nation's triumphs as effectively as they have explained its failures, and Zunz in this intelligent, learned and ambitious book suggests a valuable new model for doing so."—Alan Brinkley, Times Literary Supplement

"Zunz is evenhanded in his judgments. . . . His thesis is both imaginative and well grounded in the appropriate sources."—David M. Oshinsky, New York Times Book Review

"Zunz is an innovative and perceptive social critic. He crosses disciplinary boundaries with ease and felicity, and is particularly adept at illustrating large themes with unusual but telling details."—Kent Blaser, American Studies

"An eye-opening introduction to the shaping of modern America."—Foreign Affairs

About Olivier Zunz

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Olivier Zunz is the Commonwealth Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of "Why the American Century?," "Making America Corporate," and "The Changing Face of Inequality.
Published November 15, 1998 by University Of Chicago Press. 254 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Separating the idea of the ""American century"" from the ""Pax Americana,"" Zunz argues that Americans started the century with ""two large but unfinished projects"": the creation of a continent-wide industrial economy and the expansion of democratic institutions within their own population.

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Project MUSE

It was no accident that ministers figured prominently in the early years of the American Economics Association and that Walter Rauschenbusch, a leading advocate of the Social Gospel, warmly embraced the new social science.

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