The Search for Order, 1877-1920
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The Search for Order, 1877-1920

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  169 ratings  ·  15 reviews
At the end of Reconstruction, the lives of most Americans were still controlled by the values of the village, the conventional 19th-century beliefs in individualism, laissez-faire, progress, and a divinely ordained social system. But in the last decades of the century, the spread of science and technology, industrialism, urbanization, immigration, and economic depressions...more
Paperback, First Edition, 336 pages
Published January 1967 by Hill and Wang
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Jonathan
An elegant synthesis deserving of its reputation as a classic.

Wiebe argues that the "age of reform" between the end of Reconstruction and the start of the 1920s represented a collective search for order in American social life. Different groups of American writers and politicians presented different visions of social order, but all had to respond to the erosion of the locality, the basic problem of the age. What emerged was a bureaucratic consensus of Progressives and corporate business leaders...more
Geoffrey Rose
"The Search for Order" has a well-deserved reputation as a classic. I didn't always agree with Wiebe's analysis but certainly of great value to the general reader interested in America's transition into a modern state and society at the turn of the last century.

I also loved Wiebe's bitchy put downs of TR: "A man of unlovely traits who relished killing human beings, nursed harsh personal prejudices, and juggled facts to enhance his fame...." (for example, p. 189).

Highly recommended.
Stephen
A general overview of its period for a popular audience. I found that its excessive generality and lack of footnotes limited its usefulness for someone who wanted to understand the period in greater detail. The author's rather snide style, and his penchant for summing up historical figures with a single adjective became annoying as the book wore on. Still, a somewhat useful overview of the period, with a fairly extensive bibliographical essay at the end.
Fred
I struggled through this important book twice. Its just not well written. The sentences are clunky and hard to follow. There is a lot of important information in it about that era but you'll find yourself re-reading pages because they made no sense the first time.
Kent
interesting argument that focuses on the rise of a new middle class and ideas of an administrative/rational society; however, the dense and sometimes "flowery" language can make it a bit difficult to get through, especially for those who do not have a background in the history of the era as Wiebe assumes his audience knows the basics (people, places, events, laws) that occurred during the period
Corey
Excellent analysis. Creation of the modern nation state. The transition from a government that does nothing, 1890s. The problems with passing laws without a supporting bureaucracy. The fear of people who lived through extraordinary change. The small town farmer surrounded by people of the same race and religion, found himself living in an overcrowded industrial city. This fear led to the populist revolt that fundamentally changed the nature and purpose of our government.
John E
Excellent study of the period. Basically shows the establishment of control of the US by corporations. Even through the Progressive Era and the first "regulation" of the economy the fact of control did not change, but in fact, stayed with the business elite.

Not for the faint hearted. This is a serious historical study and may be a bit tough on history 'buffs.'
Rebecca
I was suppose to read this book for my history 497 class and write a book review. I must say that this really isnt my type of book to read but it was rather informative about the years following the Civil War and how the United States rebuilt itself and moved forward.
Ryan Petty
this book has been around for over fourty years and non historian has been really able to put something together that is so concise and explores all the different aspect of the gilded age and progressive era. a tough but good read.
Todd
I'm pretty sure that this guy hates America.

Wiebe, on the other hand, also writes well and presents information at a comfortable pace. The chapter on the growth of the middle class, for example, was very informative and interesting.
Jim
Nov 05, 2012 Jim rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
Good book if you are interested in the rise of the Progressive movement and the liberals at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. If you are not interested, it's a tedious read.
Joseph Labriola
A great description of the American's struggle to find an identity during reconstruction, industrial revolution, and WWI.
April
Excellent overview of the Populist and Progressive Eras and syncs well with Richard Hofstadter's Age of Reform.
Lance
One of the best interpretations of the progressive era
Chris
Informative but a difficult read.
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