By Michael Kazin
A wide ranging but intimate background of the yankee left—of the reformers, radicals, and idealists who've fought for a extra simply and humane society, from the abolitionists to Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky—that supplies us a revelatory new method of taking a look at centuries of yankee politics and culture.
Michael Kazin—one of the main revered historians of the yank left operating today—takes us from abolitionism and early feminism to the exertions struggles of the commercial age, during the emergence of anarchists, socialists, and communists, correct as much as the hot Left within the Sixties and ’70s. whereas the historical past of the left is an extended tale of idealism and backbone, it has additionally been, within the conventional view, a narrative of activities that didn't achieve help from mainstream the US. In American Dreamers, Kazin tells a brand new historical past: one during which a lot of those pursuits, even if they didn't absolutely prevail all alone phrases, still made lasting contributions to American society that resulted in equivalent chance for girls, racial minorities, and homosexuals; the party of sexual excitement; multiculturalism within the media and the universities; and the recognition of books and flicks with altruistic and antiauthoritarian messages.
Deeply knowledgeable, right away really appropriate and impassioned, and fantastically written, American Dreamers is a vital booklet for our occasions and for someone trying to comprehend our political background and the folk who made it.
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Additional info for American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation
63 Sensitivity towards the wider political and societal culture was especially marked in the Army, which had borne the brunt of Congressional fears of militarism from 1776 onwards (the Navy’s presence was less visible, less associated with threats to republican liberty, essential in support of trade, and thus regarded as less threatening). As a result, Army officers tended to be more sensitive to congressional and public moods than their naval counterparts. During the 1930s, for example, these views were overwhelmingly pacifistic, isolationist, and Anglophobic, and Army planners deliberately factored such views into their war planning and views of national policy.
In its preference for the use of overwhelming force unlimited by political considerations and constraints, it sought to achieve victory in the shortest time possible so that the republic could return to the ‘normal’ state of peace. As a discourse of military professionals, the absolutist conception of war thus sought to warn the republic against casual involvement in foreign military quarrels while ensuring that, once committed, the US would fight in a way that optimized republican strengths and minimized republican weaknesses.
Moreover, it depicted some elements of the US strategic community – above all the Strategic Air Command – more accurately than others – for example, the group of ‘neo-Clausewitzian’ civilian strategists discussed in the next chapter. Ironically, the latter group played no small part in tarring the traditional American way of war with the brush of apoliticism. Cold War realists and Limited War theorists interpreted earlier periods of US military history through the prism of the American strategy adopted in World War II, in an era when the logical culmination of that strategy appeared to have been realized in the terrifying prospect of ‘Massive Retaliation’.