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American Empire: The Rise of a Global Power, the Democratic Revolution at Home 1945-2000

(The Penguin History of the United States #2)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  122 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A compelling look at the movements and developments that propelled America to world dominance

In this landmark work, acclaimed historian Joshua Freeman has created an epic portrait of a nation both galvanized by change and driven by conflict. Beginning in 1945, the economic juggernaut awakened by World War II transformed a country once defined by its regional character into
Hardcover, 1st U.S., 544 pages
Published August 2nd 2012 by Viking
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3.87  · 
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 ·  122 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Oct 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Imagine the Midwest in 1945--acres of farmland, the rhythmic hum of factories, a time when life was full of hard work and family. This is where we begin Joshua B. Freeman's American Empire, a sweeping look at the history of the United States after World War II. With such a large subject matter in both time and geography, this book necessarily skims over the intricate specifics but is a broad panorama of our cultural landscape. What emerges is a view of a country still defining itself, still shif ...more
Ted Hunt
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book would be a useful centerpiece for a history course about the post World War II era, as it insightfully traces the significant events and trends of the 60 years after the end of the Second World War. In a 480 page book about a 60 year period, there would have to be a condensing of much of the history of those decades, but the author is generally very adept at analyzing the significant events and trends of a given period while looking at them through a "long lens." He is quite skillful w ...more
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This group of Penguin History of the US are among the most comprehensive volumes of the years covered. Read Alan Taylor, read Steven Hahn and read Joshua Freeman. Fantastic!
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody interested in postwar American history
Joshua Freeman's book provides a comprehensive overview of American history since World War II. He organizes his narrative around three themes: the postwar growth enjoyed by the American economy, the transformation of democracy within the United States, and the expanded relationship between the United States and the rest of the world. Through them, he examines the impact of events over the course of the latter half of the 20th century. His coverage is surprisingly thorough, extending over the po ...more
Christopher Leary
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very interesting history not least because the period covers my own lifetime. I often got flashbacks as the story progressed. Particularly interesting too to see the shift over time to the hyper-capitalism that is today's norm. From today's perspective the golden age of the 50s and 60s almost looks like some kind of socialist utopia for the non-rich. Follow the story of what happens next and weep. Recommended.
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This book is a great overview and synthesis of American history over the last fifty or sixty years. It shows how a mostly rural America became a huge modern society taking its place on the world stage. What was most intriguing was the authors ability to show how growth within and foreign policy outside America influenced each other.
James Trent
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A well-written and thorough analysis of the United States from the post-World War II years through the end of the century. Freeman weaves together material from economic, social, and political history, while also remaining sensitive to the various changes that occur regionally in the nation. Finally, the book speaks to the issue of empire - of its vanities, its values, and its vicissitudes.
Thom Strimbu
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I think back to how I learned about history in school, it came to me in pre-packaged vignettes. WWII was taught separately from the Industrial Revolution was taught separately from Reconstruction was taught... and so it went. The result was that I had yawning gaps of understanding not only about what happened in between these events but, more importantly, how they were tied to each other.

Reading American Empire was a fantastic experience. Freeman provides a continuous narrative about the d
Alberto Lopez
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
While the book is quite thorough, it is nonetheless materially biased. What a shame. It is distracting to read the author's positive spin on left actions or events, only to see the same tainted negatively just for the fact that a republican was responsible for them. It reminded me of the purpose of asking the same question in different ways in psychological tests to assert the real opinion a person has on a subject. It is also how one finds deceit. The book thus fails. But then again, maybe the ...more
Jackie Debs
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This Is a decent telling of selective details of the American experience. However, as many have noted, the author very often provide excuses and rationalization for why one politician makes major errors, and then (sometimes within the very same time period) demonize a republican politician for doing nearly the exact same thing.

One instance that particularly stands out is how he spends much time gushing over the very wealthy Kennedy’s, and then soon after, spends serval pages about how abhorrent
Fredrick Danysh
Dec 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, political
The author explores the social, political, economic, and civil rights history of the United States from the Great Depression through 9/11. There is an extensive bibliography. His personal basis are reflected in this work but the work does provide some insight.
Ailith Twinning
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Man, I really like this survey. wish I'd hit it first when I started my "Seriously, why don't I know modern US history?" project.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended if you want to know how we got from there to here. I wish my undergraduate survey course was this interesting.
Jul 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
Joshua Freeman tells us a history that many others have told much better. When I read this book I find myself thinking of something that I have enjoyed before but much better. This is like a history hot pocket in that it is technically what it claims to be but it doesn't really offer us anything satisfactory or anything that is revelatory. We all can see that America became the premier nation state of the second half of the 20th century but the down sides and negative aspects of this time period ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it liked it
One-Minute Review
Joshua Freeman’s American Empire is a history in the tradition of great single-volume accounts of big topics. Freeman has achieved this concision by anchoring his narrative around the big ideas of recent American history – the military-industrial complex, the civil rights movement, and Reaganism – instead of simply chronicling the important dates of post-war America. He examines the rise of these ideas in American society and deftly shows how the debates around them drove social
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Interesting book, Freeman doesn't excuse the Americans as some of them usually do, and underlines many things that could have been done in a different and much more useful way for them and for the rest of the world.

Libro interessante, Freeman non scusa gli americani come spesso loro fanno, ma sottolinea molte delle cose che avrebbero potuto essere fatte in modo diverso, molto più utile, sia per loro che per il resto del mondo.

Brooke Stoddard
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Professor Joshua Freeman has composed a 500-page history of the United States from 1945 to the first Obama election as part of the Penguin Series History of the United States edited by Eric Foner. Generally, we know all of this, but it is both bracing and worthy to read our history in large chunks and synthesized through a discerning intelligence. Critics have decried a liberal taint, but Freeman lays out facts and leaves most judgments to readers. It's difficult to look in a mirror sometimes an ...more
Richard Salas
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Tough read but really informational and insightful
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A very informative read about US regulation in the economic, military, foreign policy and how we got into the mess we are today.
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Tainted with good old liberal enthusiasm, but a wonderful and informative chronological read nonetheless.
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Sep 15, 2013
Michael Damron
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Sep 19, 2014
Charles Edwards
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Dec 27, 2012
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Apr 19, 2014
Alan Charles
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Oct 03, 2014
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Mar 28, 2018
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Aug 14, 2016
Austin Gorton
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May 30, 2018
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