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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

4.41  ·  Rating Details ·  1,351 Ratings  ·  113 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 arts, science, fashion, fads, social change, sexual mores, communications, graffiti - everything and anything indigenous that can be captured in print.

Masterfully compressing four crowded decades of our hi
Hardcover, 1397 pages
Published July 1st 1984 by Little, Brown & Company (Boston/Toronto) (first published 1973)
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Painted Desert Dreamer
Jan 09, 2009 Painted Desert Dreamer rated it it was amazing
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!!!
Aug 05, 2010 John rated it really liked it
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
Jul 04, 2011 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amer-history
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
Sean O
Mar 02, 2016 Sean O rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5star
I'm not sure it's possible to adequately review a 1300+ page narrative history of the middle of the 20th Century. So I'm not sure I'm going to try.

This book however is a beautiful skeleton.

On it I will hang Atkinson's "Liberation" trilogy, Halberstam's "The Fifties," "The Children," and "The Best and the Brightest," "All the King's Men," and "All the President's Men."

If you want to know what happened in America from 1932 to 1972, this is the place to start.
Chris Gager
Jun 09, 2016 Chris Gager rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Time for some non-fiction and judging from the ratings this was a good choice. This is another found/rescued book - from where I don't know. I've read into it a bit - last night - and it's pretty damned good so far. The Depression, The New Deal, World War II, post-war prosperity and growth, Korea, Civil Rights, Vietnam, the 60's ... YIKES! Only 40 years and so much going on... So far my main impression is of how much 1932 looks like today. The Republican Party still wants to blame the victims of ...more
Jan 03, 2015 Piker7977 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 24, 2013 Dayla rated it it was amazing
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.
Robert W
Sep 18, 2007 Robert W rated it liked it
Shelves: history
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
Chris Gager
Jun 09, 2016 Chris Gager rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to move over to this edition to finish my review as I've used up all my allotted characters in the one I was reviewing under! Well, it IS a long book crammed full of interesting stuff.

So, we're headed for the election of 1972 and Watergate as the semi-insane Nixon heads for China before he returns to subvert our democracy. Screw him ... and Kissinger too!

- Why so much space devoted to the exploits of Clifford Irving? Low blow: he calls Nina van Pallandt the "most distinguished fornicatrix
Erik Graff
Apr 29, 2013 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
David Bruns
Jul 23, 2013 David Bruns rated it really liked it
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
Peter Hoff
May 27, 2015 Peter Hoff rated it really liked it
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
Oct 19, 2007 Snowfalcon rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 31, 2015 Harold rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is anecdote as history -- in this case the history of the US from 1930 to 1972. As such, it is the most evocative history I have read. Starting with the most vivid, visceral description of the depression and continuing through Watergate, Manchester delivers the zeitgeist of the United States through an incredibly tumultuous period in its history. He reports not only on historical events, but on the slang, the culture, the fashion, and the emotion of the time. He loves to tell a good story, ...more
Feb 17, 2011 Susan marked it as to-read
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
Feb 01, 2010 Philip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Nov 08, 2007 Russell rated it it was amazing
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
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
Lynn Buschhoff
Jun 11, 2009 Lynn Buschhoff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Kit Giddings
Feb 05, 2009 Kit Giddings rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jean-François Lisée
Feb 21, 2016 Jean-François Lisée rated it really liked it
Un tour de force. Manchester nous mène des émeutes de Washington en 1932 jusqu'aux années 70. Plus qu'une histoire politique américaine, Glory est un voyage dans la société américaine toute entière, ses moeurs, sa culture, son attitude. On est porté par la force du récit, ébloui par la richesse de la recherche, toujours fasciné par cette Amérique qui n'en finit plus de se réinventer.
Jan 15, 2011 John rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 04, 2009 Aaron rated it it was amazing
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.
Mel [profile closed]
Sep 27, 2009 Mel [profile closed] rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 16, 2009 Paula rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 29, 2015 Nora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Joseph H.
Oct 31, 2016 Joseph H. rated it really liked it
I'd like to start my review by saying that I've read The Glory and the Dream twice--the first time being in my sophomore year of high school and the second time being in my junior year. I enjoyed it both times. I feel that The Glory and the Dream is different from any history book I've ever read (except other books by William Manchester) because Manchester uses figurative language to help immerse the reader in the world of American history. It's really not just another dry, boring history book-- ...more
Aug 16, 2011 Jim rated it liked it
Shelves: history
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
Sharon Tzur
Feb 03, 2015 Sharon Tzur rated it really liked it
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
Greg Talbot
Dec 19, 2015 Greg Talbot rated it it was amazing
--Review For Book I--(Finished on 8/15/15)

Documenting the years from 1932 - 1972, TGATD is an enormous undertaking of historical documentation. Fleshed out from grand themes of the great depression, the rise of the White Knight FDR, WWII, the atomic age, the Truman election, and the conservative swing back to Ike. Between the pages line the documentation of culture of our grandfathers and grandmothers.

It's hard to give a book to fully encapsilate the work within. But I walked away with a greate
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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.
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“Let me first assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” 4 likes
“Above all, beware the crowd! The crowd only feels; it has no mind of its own which can plan. The crowd is credulous, it destroys, it consumes, it hates, and it dreams—but it never builds.” 2 likes
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