The Unfinished Journey: America Since World War II
Prize-winning historian William Chafe here offers a vibrant chronicle of America's roller-coaster journey of the past forty years. Since World War ... Show synopsis Prize-winning historian William Chafe here offers a vibrant chronicle of America's roller-coaster journey of the past forty years. Since World War II, the U.S. has witnessed both stunning progress and profound social divisions. The economy boomed, suburbia blossomed, college became the norm for half the younger population, and social liberation movements swept away ancient barriers of racial and sexual discrimination. Yet in the midst of affluence, poverty remained a blight affecting a fifth of the nation; war and violence nearly tore America apart; and a new generation emerged with little hope of change for the future, convinced that belief in reform was naive and romantic. Proceeding from the Cold War chill of the 1950s to the heated social protests of the '60s, Chafe shows how the conflicting forces in American life led to a turning point in 1968 and the ascendancy of a conservative coalition. Though set back by Watergate, this coalition re-emerged triumphant with the election of Ronald Reagan and was reigning supreme by the mid-1980s--even though in its midst lay enormous problems of inequality that have yet to be solved. Chafe brings our recent history alive in this gripping, brilliantly written narrative. As he highlights the paradoxes of postwar reform and reaction, he shows with cogency and passion how things might have been different. About the Author William H. Chafe is Professor History at Duke University. He is author of several books, among them Civilities and Civil Rights, which won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and the Mayflower Prize in 1981.