The Gilded Age: A History in Documents

The Gilded Age: A History in Documents

by Janette Thomas Greenwood
     
 

When many Americans think of the Gilded Age, they picture the mansions at Newport, Rhode Island, or the tenements of New York City. Indeed, the late 19th century was a period of extreme poverty thinly veiled by fabulous wealth. However, we should not remember the era only for the strides made by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie or social reformer Jane Addams. All

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Overview

When many Americans think of the Gilded Age, they picture the mansions at Newport, Rhode Island, or the tenements of New York City. Indeed, the late 19th century was a period of extreme poverty thinly veiled by fabulous wealth. However, we should not remember the era only for the strides made by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie or social reformer Jane Addams. All Americans had to adjust to the dynamic social and economic changes of the Gilded Age—the booming industries, growing cities, increased ethnic and cultural diversity. African American W. E. B. Du Bois, Native American Sitting Bull, and Chinese American Saum Song Bo spoke out against racial injustice. European immigrants Mary Antin and Robert Ferrari suffered the pitfalls and praised the opportunities found in their new country. Pioneer Phoebe Judson lamented the loneliness of making a life out West. And workers at Homestead Steel lost their lives in an attempt to improve labor conditions. Drawing from the letters, memoirs, newspaper articles, journals, and speeches of Gilded Age Americans, author Janette Greenwood arranges all of these voices to tell a story more vibrant and textured than the simple tale of robber baron versus starving poor. In addition to these voices, visuals—such as advertisements, maps, political cartoons, and a picture essay on Jacob Riiss urban photographs—create a kaleidoscopic view of the quarter century when diverse Americans struggled for the same goal: a better way of life, with more justice and democracy for each and all.

Textbooks may interpret history, but the books in the Pages from History series are history. Each title, compiled and edited by a prominent historian, is a collection of primary sources relating to a particular topic of historical significance. Documentary evidence including news articles, government documents, memoirs, letters, diaries, fiction, photographs, and facsimiles allows history to speak for itself and turns every reader into a historian. Headnotes, extended captions, sidebars, and introductory essays provide the essential context that frames the documents. All the books are amply illustrated and each includes a documentary picture essay, chronology, further reading, source notes, and index.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Brings to life an exciting time in U.S. history... Greenwood discusses the period objectively in a concise, lively commentary that frames scores of primary sources and black-and-white reproductions and photos.... Coverage of women and minorities is noteworthy. A fine source for both school assignments and browsing pleasure."—School Library Journal

"Greenwood...presents selections of primary source materials topically arranged to examine ten aspects of the period.... A demonstration of the wealth of material that can be culled for historical evidence. Students looking for fresh approach to research can find inspiration here."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Interesting reading....An excellent addition."—VOYA

"Interesting—often gripping primary sources ....[With] excellent introductions."—History: Reviews of New Books

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-This series entry brings to life an exciting time in U.S. history. During the last 25 years of the 19th century, immense wealth coexisted with extreme poverty, new inventions appeared, and industrialization and immigration were transforming the country's social fabric. Greenwood discusses the period objectively in a concise, lively commentary that frames scores of primary sources and black-and-white reproductions and photos that effectively capture most aspects of post-Civil War America. Among the written documents are a labor-movement recruitment song, interviews with black "Exodusters" in Kansas, the reminiscences of Andrew Carnegie, essays for and against the Spanish-American War and territorial expansion, and a Scribner's magazine editorial defining the proper place of middle-class women. Coverage of women and minorities is noteworthy. A fine source for both school assignments and browsing pleasure.-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195105230
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/05/2000
Series:
Pages from History Series
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
9.60(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Janette Thomas Greenwood is Associate Professor and Chair of the History Department at Clark University. Her previous works include Bittersweet Legacy: The Black and White "Better Classes" in Charlotte, N.C. 1850-1910 (UNC Press, 1994), The Black Experience in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, 1850-1920: A Curriculum Guide for Teachers (C-M Historic Properties Commission, 1984) and On the Home Front: Charlotte During the Civil War (Mint Museum of History, 1982).

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