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From America's most celebrated living historian comes this "sprightly, straightforward account of the first third of an active and charmed life" (New York Times). Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. turns a studied eye on a personal past and reconstructs the history that has made him such an iconic figure for generations of readers. A LIFE IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY offers rare and revealing access to both the private world of a great American writer and the fine-grained texture of the American century.
Ranging from a fondly remembered childhood in the Midwest to a fascinating, storied academic and political life, this volume is an important addition to Schlesinger's body of work, "every bit as well written as anything Schlesinger has done" (Providence Sunday Journal) and "sure to be used by students of the times for years to come" (Boston Globe). "With style and humor and a master historian's deft blending of personal detail with epic events" (Wall Street Journal), Schlesinger evokes the struggles, the questions, the paradoxes, and the triumphs that shaped our era as only he can do.
Around sunset we approached Trinidad, a bleak mining town. That night Roosevelt was to give a fireside chat on national defense. We parked by the side of the country road in the hope of minimizing static on the car radio. A crimson glow was fading on the Spanish Peaks. Dusk fell.
All about seemed dark and silent and limitless. Then the well- remembered voice, at once melodious and urgent, came on the air. Some Mexicans appeared out of a little adobe hut, bowing, smiling, apologetic so Benny described the scene in The Easy Chair, the monthly column he contributed to Harper's and asked if they might listen too. The grave presidential tone seized us all. No one stirred, except to light cigarettes, smoking the car into a gray haze. When it was finished, Benny wrote, one of our guests said, 'I guess maybe America declare war pretty soon now.' We waved goodbye and drove on to Trinidad. I guess maybe.
1 Backdrop 1 Part I: The Twenties 2 East from Iowa 23 3 Midwesterners in Cambridge 41 4 Life of a Reader 62 Part II: The Thirties 5 Prep School 81 6 Round the World 93 7 Harvard College: What I Did 108 8 Harvard College: What I Enjoyed 132 9 Harvard College: What I Learned 157 10 The Twilight Year 187 Part III: The Forties 11 A Nation Divided 221 12 On the Brink 241 13 Washington at War 262
14 Blowup at OWI 277 15 Oh So Secret 295 16 London 1944 314 17 War’s End 330 18 The Ages of Jackson 354 19 Free Lance 375 20 CPUSA vs. ADA 394 21 Alarums and Excursions 418 22 Back to Harvard 439 23 1948 455 24 Deals Fair and Unfair 483 25 The Vital Center 504 Index 525