The central focus of this two-volume history of the United States is the changing nature of the work that built, sustained, and transformed American society over the course of almost four centuries. It depicts the ways working people affected and were affected by the economic, social, cultural, and political processes that together make up the national experience. The result is a path-breaking integration of the history of community, family, gender roles, race, and ethnicity into the more familiar history of U.S. politics and economic development.
Volume One takes the reader through the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the great railroad strike of 1877. Volume Two continues the story from the expansion of industrial capitalism during the Gilded Age and the rise of movements of opposition, through the decades of world war, depression, and industrial unionism, to the dramatic growth of U.S. military and economic power in the postwar era and the continuing struggle over the meaning of America in the contemporary era.