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The Flowering of the Third America: The Making of an Organizational Society, 1850-1920

Overview

In a provocative new interpretation of a transforming era in American history, Maury Klein examines the forces that turned the United States from a rural agricultural society to an urban industrial one. Integrating social, economic, and business history, he stresses the driving role of technology and the emergence of a complex society of many cultures, lacking a cohesive center. The rise of a corporate economy, described by Mr. Klein, resulted in productive miracles unequaled elsewhere—but at the cost of great ...
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Overview

In a provocative new interpretation of a transforming era in American history, Maury Klein examines the forces that turned the United States from a rural agricultural society to an urban industrial one. Integrating social, economic, and business history, he stresses the driving role of technology and the emergence of a complex society of many cultures, lacking a cohesive center. The rise of a corporate economy, described by Mr. Klein, resulted in productive miracles unequaled elsewhere—but at the cost of great social dislocation in American life. Gradually there arose a society that organized and formalized traditional American values in new and unexpected ways. This transformation produced a surprising new center for the diverse and fragmented American social order: the consumer economy. The new order flowered after the turn of the century and was advanced by the consequences of World War I, which left the United States as the world's major power. The Flowering of the Third America is a vivid and authoritative portrait of the making of modern America.
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Editorial Reviews

Virginia Quarterly Review
Klein does an admirable job synthesizing a great deal of information.
CHOICE
In seemingly effortless prose . . . done with freshness and skill.
Journal of American History
A balanced book . . . packed with significant facts . . . clear and concise.
Virginia Quarterly Review
Klein does an admirable job synthesizing a great deal of information.
Journal of American History
A balanced book...packed with significant facts...clear and concise.
Choice
In seemingly effortless prose...done with freshness and skill.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As corporations came to dominate American life in the second half of the 19th century, individualism remained ``the most prized virtue of our folklore.'' But in reality, asserts Klein, big corporations, lobbies, political machines and professional associations gained vast powers at the expense of consumers, workers, reformers and the disorganized poor and struggling. This vibrant, concise social history of America's transformation from a rural, agrarian society to an urban, industrialized, multicultural one demonstrates that increasing organization of the corporate economy paradoxically made life ever more fragmented and alienated for ordinary persons. To fill the gap, argues Klein, a University of Rhode Island history professor, the consumer economy provided a unifying social thread with standardized products, films, magazines, radio, sports and other cultural meeting points. Klein ( The Life and Legend of Jay Gould ) crams in a wealth of information on everything from the invention of Coca-Cola to the economic havoc following WW I. (Oct.)
Library Journal
From his analysis of the leading economic, technological, industrial, and social developments of the period, Klein concludes that it was not until the years between 1865 and World War I that the United States was transformed from an agrarian economy into a powerful industrial nation--``the Third America.'' It still lacked a cohesive center because of continuing racial, ethnic, and religious differences. The rise of the consumer economy and its rapid expansion with growing prosperity, however, gave the nation a needed unifying force by about 1920. Klein ( The Life and Legend of Jay Gould , LJ 4/15/86) provides original and stimulating insights, which are sometimes obscured by a writing style plagued by loose organization, redundancy, and excessive and sometimes trivial detail. The bibliographies are excellent. Suitable for school and public libraries.-- Harry Frumerman, formerly with Hunter Coll., CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566630290
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 8/28/1993
  • Series: American Ways Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Maury Klein is professor of history and director of the honors program at the University of Rhode Island. His other books include Prisoners of Progress (about the rise of American industrial cities), The Life and Legend of Jay Gould, and a two-volume history of the Union Pacific railroad.
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Table of Contents

Prologue: The United States in 1850 3
1 The Industrializing of America 11
2 The New Entrepreneurs 29
3 The Corporate Economy 42
4 The Business of Farming 57
5 The Corporate Society 76
6 The New American Landscape 106
7 Technology Triumphant 124
8 Integration and Alienation 148
9 The Flowering of the Third America 171
Epilogue: The United States in 1920 192
A Note on Sources 204
Index 212
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