In 1949, lawyer, historian, and journalist Carey McWilliams stepped back to assess the state of California at the end of its first one hundred years--its history, population, politics, agriculture, and social concerns. As he examined the reasons for the prodigious growth and productivity that have characterized California since the Gold Rush, he praised the vitality of the new citizens who had come from all over the world to populate the state in a very short time. But he also made clear how brutally the new Californians dealt with "the Indian problem," the water problem, and the need for migrant labor to facilitate California's massive and highly profitable agricultural industry. As we look back now on 150 years of statehood, it is particularly useful to place the events of the past fifty years in the context of McWilliams's assessment in California: The Great Exception. Lewis Lapham has written a new foreword for this edition.
Lapham's observations speak to the moral and intellectual confusions visited upon the American ruling elites - in the media and the universities as well as in business and government during the years 1989-1995. Drawn across a broad canvas of incidental and scene. Lapham's sketches take as their occasions events as different from one another as the wars in Panama and the Persian Gulf, the apotheosis of Richard Nixon and the transfiguration of O. J. Simpson, the grim inspections of the American soul conducted by the agents of both the pious left (no smoking cigarettes, no dirty water in the swimming pools, condoms in the schools) and the zealous right (no serial murders in the movies, no lesbians in the army, prayer in the schools), the media's use of history as wallpaper and elevator music, the dwindling significance of President Clinton (vanishing as mysteriously as the Cheshire cat) and the bombastic arrival of Newt Gingrich ("a man for all grievances"), the practice of swindling the stockholders and the art of changing gossip into news.
Mark Twain is an American icon. We now know him as the author of classics, but in his day he was a controversial satirist and public figure who traveled the world and healed post-Civil War America with his tall tales, witty anecdotes, and humorous but insightful novels and stories. Twain's legacy continues to flourish over 100 years after his death. MARK TWAIN'S AMERICA features spectacular examples of Twain memorabilia and period Americana from the unsurpassed collections of the Library of Congress: rare illustrations, vintage photographs, popular and fine prints, period views, caricatures, cartoons, maps, and more. Excerpts from Twain's writings are framed in a lively narrative by author Harry L. Katz. Covering the years between 1850 and 1910, the book gives readers an intimate view of Twain's many roles in life: Mississippi river boat pilot, California gold prospector, "printer's devil" at a small-town newspaper, muckraking journalist, novelist, public speaker extraordinaire, our first major celebrity author. Through letters, political cartoons, photographs and more, MARK TWAIN'S AMERICA offers an inside look into Twain's life as well as the literary. social, and political life of America during his time.
A biting criticism of 'democracy' as practiced in America. Lapham instead proposes that the United States is run by a selfish elite ruling oligarchy. He also explores how the government has fostered the illusion of change while relieving the populace of the hard work of democratic participation.
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