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Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore (Oxford History of the United States)

Customer Reviews:

Oxford History of the U.S. with yet another winner!

By Shawn S. Sullivan - December 3, 2005

James T. Patterson's "Restless Giant", Volume 11 (and last chronologically) in the Oxford History of the United States puts an exclamation point on this gem of a series. Professor Patterson follows up on his own penultiate volume in the series, "Grand Expectations", with aplomb. David M. Kennedy, now the editor of the series, succeeding the late C. Vann Woodward, and himself the author of the antepenultimate volume, "Freedom from Fear", perhaps sums up the rationale for studying such recent history in his forward to this book: "It is often said that the history we know the least well is the history of our own time, particularly the decades immediately surrounding our own birth. Here (the readers) will find a cogent and compelling account of how history shaped the world they inherited . . . ".

Patterson does again what he does best and that is put history in the context of a multitude of definitionally overlapping diciplines. Covering the time period of 1974-2000,... read more

Well Done History of Our Time

By John Matlock "Gunny" - October 25, 2005

It is only when the history books are written that we begin to find out what really happened as opposed to reading/watching the day to day news stories in the paper/television.

This book by James Patterson, part of the Oxford history of the United States covers the years from Nixon's resignation (1974) to inauguration day 2001 when George W. Bush became President. The media tends to stress conflict. In actuality there is much less conflict than you might otherwise believe. The majority of Americans were less partisan, less attentive to political fighting than were the protestors, the politicians or the interest groups with causes to defend.

Through this quarter century, the Americans tended to elect the presidential candidate that they considered to be the most central, neither left nor right wing. Both political parties continued to be effective, holding about half of both houses of congress. The rights of racial and ethnic minorities, Catholics and Jews, the... read more

Good survey of recent American history

By Mark Klobas - November 25, 2005

I've often felt that "contemporary history" is not just an oxymoron, but a fallacy as well. Good history depends on two things: information and perspective. Information, in that there are sources available that provide insight into the motivations behind decisions and events, and perspective in that there is enough distance to make an assessment of what decisions and trends truly shaped subsequent developments. Without both, the observations and conclusions made may not be inaccurate, but they are not really historical judgments.

For this reason, I approached James Patterson's book with some skepticism. It's not that I didn't think he was up to the task (his previous contribution to the series, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974 (Oxford History of the United States), is testament to his ability to write such history), but that the task itself was in many ways a fool's errand. Yet... read more

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