Booklist--The Second Gilded Age
edited: Monday, June 11, 2007
By Michael C. McHugh
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Monday, June 11, 2007
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Book review by Booklist.
The second gilded age; the great reaction in the United States, 1973-2001.
Univ. Press of America, ©2006 364 p. $40.00 E178978-0-7618-3452-6McHugh (history, Miami U. of Ohio) defines gilded ages as "eras of elitist social and economic policy combined with evangelical and right-wing populist movements at the grassroots level" (with these latter being consciously manipulated by elites) and suggests that they are the norm, the "default setting," in US history. In this volume he describes the political landscape of what he terms the Second Gilded Age (1973-2001) and compares it both with the politics of the First Gilded Age (1873-1901) and the Historical Exception Period (1945-1973), anomalous in American history because of the consensuses surrounding social democracy and the Cold War. He describes the various backlash movements of the era within the social context of a shrinking middle class, broken labor movement, fragmented middle class left, welfare state under attack, and growing reliance on police measures. He also describes the frequently strained efforts of national political leaders to assemble majority coalitions in this volatile environment (Annotation ©2007 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)