The GI Bill: The New Deal for Veterans [NOOK Book]

Overview

On rare occasions in American history, Congress enacts a measure so astute, so far-reaching, so revolutionary, it enters the language as a metaphor. The Marshall Plan comes to mind, as does the Civil Rights Act. But perhaps none resonates in the American imagination like the G.I. Bill.
In a brilliant addition to Oxford's acclaimed Pivotal Moments in American History series, historians Glenn C. Altschuler and Stuart M. Blumin offer a compelling and often surprising account of the...
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The GI Bill: The New Deal for Veterans

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Overview

On rare occasions in American history, Congress enacts a measure so astute, so far-reaching, so revolutionary, it enters the language as a metaphor. The Marshall Plan comes to mind, as does the Civil Rights Act. But perhaps none resonates in the American imagination like the G.I. Bill.
In a brilliant addition to Oxford's acclaimed Pivotal Moments in American History series, historians Glenn C. Altschuler and Stuart M. Blumin offer a compelling and often surprising account of the G.I. Bill and its sweeping and decisive impact on American life. Formally known as the Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944, it was far from an obvious, straightforward piece of legislation, but resulted from tense political maneuvering and complex negotiations. As Altschuler and Blumin show, an unlikely coalition emerged to shape and pass the bill, bringing together both New Deal Democrats and conservatives who had vehemently opposed Roosevelt's social-welfare agenda. For the first time in American history returning soldiers were not only supported, but enabled to pursue success--a revolution in America's policy towards its veterans.
Once enacted, the G.I. Bill had far-reaching consequences. By providing job training, unemployment compensation, housing loans, and tuition assistance, it allowed millions of Americans to fulfill long-held dreams of social mobility, reshaping the national landscape. The huge influx of veterans and federal money transformed the modern university and the surge in single home ownership vastly expanded America's suburbs. Perhaps most important, as Peter Drucker noted, the G.I. Bill "signaled the shift to the knowledge society." The authors highlight unusual or unexpected features of the law--its color blindness, the frankly sexist thinking behind it, and its consequent influence on race and gender relations. Not least important, Altschuler and Blumin illuminate its role in individual lives whose stories they weave into this thoughtful account.
Written with insight and narrative verve by two leading historians, The G.I. Bill makes a major contribution to the scholarship of postwar America.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

The GI bill, officially the Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944, is best remembered today for the college educations that it provided to thousands of World War II veterans, transforming their lives and bringing lasting change to American society. Altschuler and Blumin (American Studies and history, respectively, Cornell Univ.) examine both the GI bill and its impact, pointing out how far-reaching the bill in fact was. Although thousands of ex-soldiers earned college degrees because of the bill, Blumin and Altschuler argue that the vocational training available to veterans did even more to raise American standards of living. Additionally, the bill's home loan program increased home ownership and contributed to the growth of suburbs, a major shift in American society. The authors also discuss the effects of the GI bill on black and female veterans and how their experiences laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights era. A lively and carefully researched account of the GI bill and the postwar era; all informed readers should consider.
—Becky Kennedy

From the Publisher
"Anyone who has doubts about what government 'can do' should read this book. It provides a detailed example of the successes that were achieved when government 'did.'"—The American Chronicle

"The GI Bill succeeds in presenting a more balanced appraisal of the groundbreaking legislation...thoroughly researched...The GI Bill's clear-eyed narrative balances the heady encomiums of recent years and provides an informative, thorough account of 'a remarkable response to a critical moment in the nation's history against which may measure the present."—Army Magazine

"A lively and carefully researched account of the GI bill and the postwar era; all informed readers should consider."—Library Journal

"For those interested in post-World War II history - and perhaps some who lived it - this book is certainly worthy of a look."—Boston Globe

"Stuart Blumin and Glenn Altschuler's book does readers double service by revealing both the story behind the GI Bill's conception and passage, and its place within the broader history of veterans' benefits in America. Many have written about the GI Bill and its effects, few have revealed how and why it created the legacy that it did. This book takes the GI Bill from out of its display case and presents it in all of its glory as a pivotal piece of legislation, among the finest our government has ever produced."—Bob Michel, Former Congressman from Illinois, Beneficiary of the GI Bill

"After World War II, a grateful America created a set of housing, tuition, and job training benefits for its millions of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen returning home from tumultuous experiences in Europe and Asia. The GI Bill would change the entire nation - its campuses, its cities and suburbs, its job structure, and even its families. Glenn Altschuler and Stuart Blumin tell a remarkable story with economy and grace."—Kenneth T. Jackson, Barzun Professor of History, Columbia University, and author of Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States

"...a satisfying book...their book is the starting point to understand the G.I. Bill and its origins, operations, and impact." — EH.Net

"A fair, well-written, and documented account of the development and implementation of the GI Bill." — Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199839995
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/4/2009
  • Series: Pivotal Moments in American History
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 865,848
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Glenn C. Altschuler is the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies, and the Dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions at Cornell University. He is the author of All Shook Up: How Rock 'n' Roll Changed America, among other books.
Stuart M. Blumin is Professor of American History, Cornell University, and the author of a number of books, including The Emergence of the Middle Class: Social Experience in the American City.

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