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

4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  970 ratings  ·  82 reviews
This great time capsule of a book captures the abundant popular history of the United States from 1932 to 1972. It encompasses politics, military history, economics, the lively arts, science, fashion, fads, social change, sexual mores, communications, graffiti...everything and anything indigenous that can be captured in print. The Glory and the Dream chronicles the progres ...more
Hardcover, 1397 pages
Published October 19th 1974 by Little Brown & Company (Boston) (first published 1973)
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Painted Desert Dreamer
This two-volume book was one of my first non-fiction reads. I read everything written by William Manchester for the next six months.
Up to that point, I had read only historical fiction. I had not had any formal education since the sixth grade, and because of books, such as this, I have been able to educate myself. I am a mother of grown children and I am currently a freshman attending University. Life!!!
WHAT IT IS: A left-leaning "narrative history" of the United States from 1932-72.
WHAT I LEARNED: I learned what I already knew from the Preacher in Ecclesiastes: "... there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The "National Indignation Conventions" in Dallas in 1961 and 1963 sound a lot like this year's Tea Parties. The opening year of the FDR and Kennedy administrations have unmistakable parallels to the opening year of the Obama administration. An oil spill off of Santa Barbara in
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 ...more
Erik Graff
Apr 29, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all citizens of the USA
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
This is probably the best social history of the United States of America I have ever encountered. It begins with the radio listings for a typical evening in 1932, proceeds to the Bonus Marchers and through the Depression and the wars, hot and cold, until 1972, its time of composition. So impressed have I been with this book that I've given it as a gift to several people and will pick up copies of it whenever I chance upon them. Most particularly this is a great thing to give to anyone over sixty ...more
This is so well written. And why wasn't it possible to have someone like William R. Manchester write a student version of this book. I have had this book since I borrowed it from a boyfriend, but now friend of mine in 1981. It took me 25 years to finally get around to reading it. So Bob M, let me know if you want me to mail this back to you. And I guess Bob M, it is out of the question for me to ask if I can borrow the companion book. Just kidding.
Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Having been born in the 1980s it is nice to read a narrative history of the generations who came before me.

This is an engrossing history beginning with the start of the Great Depression and ending with Watergate. The histories enclosed in the chapters include military, economic, political, and social events.

*This section may require a spoiler alert*

This (semi-leftist) narrative turns over a lot of stones and uncovers some ugly truths about the past American ages. I thi
David Bruns
Manchester's book is a massive tome - 1300 pages - that provides a narrative history of 1932 to 1972. He starts with the Depression and ends with Watergate. It is worth the workout; however, if you can get the two volume version that is much easier to physically handle.

He does a fantastic job of putting each ear into perspective and getting behind the scenes into what made the country tick at each point in our history. For example, you get a rundown on what people were reading, wearing, watchin
Robert W
A two volume history of the U.S. from 1932 to 1974. Manchester confesses to being a “generational chauvinist”; the generation in question being the World War II generation. These volumes are very readable, and while some of the information has been contradicted or made more complete by subsequent findings, overall it is very useful. What seems weird to me, as a man a generation or two younger than Manchester, is his emphasis. He gives a lot of ink to sixties radical personages like Angela Davis, ...more
Oct 19, 2007 Snowfalcon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone.
I have read quite a bit of Manchester, primarily his biographies.

I found this to be a particularly poignant read these last few years. (It's a long book, 1300 pages, and I've put it down and taken it up more than a few times in the last two or three years.)

I was drawn to it because of my interest in history. Typically my historical tastes tend toward the medieval and ancient, however when I dipped into this at a coffee shop just to kill time I was reminded of the very interesting way Manchester
Feb 17, 2011 Susan marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I was listening to this book but the recording was bad--skipped like an old record. The narrator read way too fast and mispronounced 90% of the proper names, including every battle in the Pacific in WWII. I'm waiting for my hard copy of the book now....

BUT the book is really good. I loved the first part which focused on the Depression. Manchester's technique is to flood the reader with details and his detail was fascinating on this subject.

One has always to remember that this book was written in
Manchester was a superb historian, and this book was his magnum opus - despite its formidable length, Manchester's storytelling powers never flag, and it's completely engrossing - I recall sitting in a restaurant with tears streaming down my face as he described the reaction to FDR's death, and the funeral.

It's hard to believe that the Pulitzer Prize for history went elsewhere for 1974, or for 1968, when Manchester's THE ARMS OF KRUPP was published. Along with David McCullough, the late William
I used to work in this call center on Northwestern's campus. Everyone there was some PhD or grad student making $10 an hour calling people up and conducting surveys. Needless to say, everyone was a self-important blowhard (including me).

One guy, who never talked, gave me this book and said, "You'll like this." Man, did I ever. This is the most interesting history book I've ever read. It's breadth and scope are enormous and it carries the interesting prejudices and opinions (which are hardly clic
Leslie Reyes
Jul 26, 2008 Leslie Reyes is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Leslie by:
This was actually my AP American History book. Love you Mr. Ring! I hated it at the time and thought it was boring (1300 pgs). Something drew me back to this book and I don't even know what. I decided to give it another try since I don't have to be tested on it this time. It could be all of the political emphasis out there in the US right now that made me want to revisit our history. Maybe I can learn something or gain some quick insight before the election. That is, if I make it past chapter on ...more
Sharon Tzur
I won't repeat what others have written - very readable although sometimes too detailed. A tendency to present one point of view without making the reader aware that there are other points of view - even in matters of personal taste, such as taste in music.

I would like to write about a very serious omission. I'm always interested in seeing the Jewish angle of things, so when I got to FDR and WWII, I was interested in seeing how events relating to the Holocaust would be presented. I expected the
Lynn Buschhoff
For those of you who slept through modern American History and now feel ignorant, this is a great place to start feeling smart. The book spans those forgotten times between WWI and Watergate, and it is full or really interesting information. Manchester adds details about popular culture, that make history come alive. This is a book i might read again
Michael Sloan
An unbelievably well-written and compelling book. While it's obviously a history, it reads like a novel. There is so much that happened during the time period covered by the book that I was unaware of, and I consider myself well-read and well-informed.

Who knew that WWI vets were forcibly evicted from Washington DC by Douglas MacArthur, aided by Dwight Eisenhower?

Who knew that Father Coughlin, a radio preacher, was one of the most influential men of his day?

Who knew how close the country came to
Kit Giddings
This book describes life in America from Hoover through Watergate. What is so fascinating is how the events over this time period have shaped the way Americans think and act. It gave me insight to what makes Americans the way we are. It's a slow and at times, a little arduous read but never boring and well worth it.
This book covers a period of US history that had a lot going on in it. I learned quite a bit more about events that I had only briefly heard about before, and some that I was previously unaware of. Manchester's writing style is engaging and kept my interest. The author's account of the the radio dramatization of "the War of the Worlds" from 1938 was very entertaining. I knew about this event from stories told by my father, but many more details were filled in from this book.

The Great Depression
I have bought and given away many copies of Manchester's Narrative American history. This is an excellent introduction to 20th century history. A truly great book, at least for me. I read this sometime in the 1980s.... I don't know for sure because my copy is, again, on loan.
Two points should underscore how great this, and its companion (Volume 2) are:

1. I read them twice.
2. My wife's grandparents, born in 1915 and 1926, felt Manchester captured the spirit of the times better than any other author they had read.
I realized that history written this way is not dull, or tedious. Rather, it is interesting and very personal. I loved the stories in this book. I wished for this book not to end.
Enjoyable social and political history of USA from depression to Nixon. I don't agree with all of his conclusions but no two people will IMHO. Good, long read.
Mel [profile closed]
A history of the U.S. between 1932 and 1972. Well written, informative. A whole lot you didn't know. One of the best overall histories with a wide sweep.
It's been a very long time since I read this...about 35 years or more. Since I was born in 1942, it covered a period from a decade before I was born until I was a mature adult. Parts of it were completely new to me, and parts clarified my understanding of headlines I'd seen in newspapers while I was growing up.

It was extremely well written, and at times I found myself wanting to know what happened next, even if I already knew. It felt very real and more exciting that any history test. I'd defini
I read this book right after it was published in 1984. I don't know how I heard about it (how did we find stuff out before the internet?) but I checked it out of the library.I really enjoyed it. Strangely enough, about 10 years later I took a contemporary American History class at my community college and this was the textbook, so I ended up owning a very tattered used copy that is plastered with post-it notes and underlined passages. I still have it. I may pull it out of my book case and read i ...more
Kevin R
This is a history book at its finest- a nonfiction reads like a fiction. The author is a master story teller who is able to transform dull, emotionless hard historical data into readable drama yet without losing its historical integrity. Furthermore, he can retain the suspense and almost keep you on edge of a event that happened decades before you were born and of an outcome that you probably know already.Its like reading a good novel after someone had already spoiled for you- yes, it might not ...more
Peter Hoff
As is often the case, it is good to know the source of a book's title, which in this case is taken from William Wordsworth's poem "Ode: Intimations of Immortality": "Whither is fled the visionary gleam? / Where is it now, the glory and the dream?"

So if you are looking for a star-spangled history of the mid-twentieth century (1932-1972), go elsewhere. One gets a distinct sense that Manchester wrote the book for the sake of catharsis, having just lived through the disaster that was Richard Nixon's
John Flynn
That this book remains lively, engrossing and moving some 40 years after it was published amazes me. Hats off to Manchester, who brought me to tears more than once with his narratives about FDR, Vietnam, Civil Rights, and the lives of regular Americans. I was also fascinated by the 1974 take on US history from the 30's to the 70's: interesting what was emphasized and what was important. It's a book written at the end of liberalism in America...funny to think, but in some ways Nixon was the last ...more
Partway through this epic American narrative, describing the years between 1932 and 1972, I have two main impressions. The first is described by the aphorism "the more things change, the more they stay the same." The second is a new take on Karl Marx's philosophy on winning hearts and minds and going communist; "Two steps forward and one step back." Before I embark on the themes, I will give a little of an overview of volume I.

Opening with a discussion of the Depression and the failure of Hoover
This is an interesting narrative of 40 years of history. It was kind of the inspiration for a TV program that was aired by ABC (I think it was ABC) in 1985 called "America and the World 45-85." In a couple of hours in prime time, the program could only devote a limited amount of time to each worthy news event from the previous 40 years. The biggest events got a little more attention than the other events, but you couldn't go into detail on anything. The same was true of this book. It was a nice ...more
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William Raymond Manchester was an American author and biographer, notable as the bestselling author of 18 books that have been translated into 20 languages.He was awarded the National Humanities Medal and the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award.
More about William Manchester...
A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 The Last Lion 1: Visions of Glory 1874-1932 The Last Lion 2: Winston Spencer Churchill Alone, 1932-40 Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War

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