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The Last Days of Innocence reveals how the fight to preserve freedom abroad led to the ...
The Last Days of Innocence reveals how the fight to preserve freedom abroad led to the erosion of freedom at home. Drawing on American, British, and French archival material, the authors reveal unplanned and uncoordinated field efforts, as well as the unsavory activities of anti-dissent groups, from the Committee for Public Information to the Anti-Yellow Dog League, including a posse of children organized to listen for antiwar talk among families and friends. Here is the story of the fifty-billion-dollar war that gave birth to the Selective Service Act, threatened labor rights, stoked the fires of racial and religious intolerance, and concentrated the nation's wealth into fewer hands than ever before. The Last Days of Innocence tells the untold story of the war that rudely thrust Americans into an uncertain future--a war whose effects remain with us today.
"Well-crafted in every way...a vivid and authoritative history."--Cleveland Plain Dealer
"A neatly plaited narrative...rich in detail. A splendid history."--Washington Times
In just 17 months, the U.S. federal government grew from one cog in the machinery of American life into a colossus. The Great War proved to be the gateway through which our grandparents passed from the relative innocence of the 19th century into our own troubled, uncertain era. The Last Days of Innocence combines archival material to present a fresh and modern evaluation of America's performance. Photos. 592 pp. National ads. 15,000 print.
America had assumed a crucial role in the war, the authors argue, long before a single American soldier reached the front lines. From 1914 on, America supplied the "rifles, howitzers, shells" desperately needed by the hard-pressed Allies. American money propped up the depleted treasuries of the French and British; all told, they note, the US spent the staggering sum of $50 billion on the war effort. The swift arrival of hundreds of thousands of American troops blunted and then broke the last German offensive and decided the war's outcome. During their relatively short but ferocious time on the front, American forces, earning a reputation for reckless courage, suffered a quarter million casualties, including 50,000 dead. The authors spend roughly half the book describing the home front, including the long, bitter debate over entering the war, growing labor and social unrest, and a resulting massive growth of government powers. Their descriptions of these matters, and of the experience of American soldiers in battle, are handled with clarity and force. The British and French, determined to impose their terms on Germany, relentlessly downplayed America's contribution to the war, and undercut President Wilson's attempts to insure the peace. Many Americans, feeling that America had been manipulated and misled by her allies, turned away from Europe. At home, unrest had created "wide rents . . . in the social fabric. . . . Rudely, the war had thrust Americans into the uncertain future of the twentieth century."
A sad, gripping account of one of the defining moments in our history.
|Prologue: Forgotten Sacrifice||3|
|Pt. 1||Forced Toward Armageddon||11|
|Pt. 2||Building the Army||87|
|Pt. 3||Mobilizing the Nation||143|
|Pt. 4||The Winter Crisis||191|
|Pt. 5||Into Battle||225|
|Pt. 6||The End of Innocence||273|
|Pt. 7||The Reality of War||309|
|Pt. 8||The Death of Innocents||337|
|Pt. 9||Losing the Peace||403|
|Epilogue: The Cost||433|