A tour de force of historical reportage, America's Bank illuminates the tumultuous era and remarkable personalities that spurred the unlikely birth of America's modern central bank, the Federal Reserve. Today, the Fed is the bedrock of the financial landscape, yet the fight to create it was so protracted and divisive that it seems a small miracle that it was ever established.For nearly a century, America, alone among developed nations, refused to consider any central or organizing agency in its financial system. Americans' mistrust of big government and of big banks--a legacy of the country's Jeffersonian, small-government traditions--was so widespread that modernizing reform was deemed impossible. Each bank was left to stand on its own, with no central reserve or lender of last resort. The real-world consequences of this chaotic and provincial system were frequent financial panics, bank runs, money shortages, and depressions. By the first decade of the twentieth century, it had become plain that the outmoded banking system was ill equipped to finance America's burgeoning industry. But political will for reform was lacking. It took an economic meltdown, a high-level tour of Europe, and--improbably--a conspiratorial effort by vilified captains of Wall Street to overcome popular resistance. Finally, in 1913, Congress conceived a federalist and quintessentially American solution to the conflict that had divided bankers, farmers, populists, and ordinary Americans, and enacted the landmark Federal Reserve Act. Roger Lowenstein--acclaimed financial journalist and bestselling author of When Genius Failed and The End of Wall Street--tells the drama-laden story of how America created the Federal Reserve, thereby taking its first steps onto the world stage as a global financial power. America's Bank showcases Lowenstein at his very finest: illuminating complex financial and political issues with striking clarity, infusing the debates of our past with all the gripping immediacy of today, and painting unforgettable portraits of Gilded Age bankers, presidents, and politicians. Lowenstein focuses on the four men at the heart of the struggle to create the Federal Reserve. These were Paul Warburg, a refined, German-born financier, recently relocated to New York, who was horrified by the primitive condition of America's finances; Rhode Island's Nelson W. Aldrich, the reigning power broker in the U.S. Senate and an archetypal Gilded Age legislator; Carter Glass, the ambitious, if then little-known, Virginia congressman who chaired the House Banking Committee at a crucial moment of political transition; and President Woodrow Wilson, the academician-turned-progressive-politician who forced Glass to reconcile his deep-seated differences with bankers and accept the principle (anathema to southern Democrats) of federal control. Weaving together a raucous era in American politics with a storied financial crisis and intrigue at the highest levels of Washington and Wall Street, Lowenstein brings the beginnings of one of the country's most crucial institutions to vivid and unforgettable life. Readers of this gripping historical narrative will wonder whether they're reading about one hundred years ago or the still-seething conflicts that mark our discussions of banking and politics today.
A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, NonfictionNamed a Notable Book of the Year by
The New York Times Book Review and The Washington Post Named a Best Book of the Year by
NPR, The Boston Globe, and Kirkus Reviews (Best Nonfiction)
Countless books have been written about the civil rights movement, but far less attention has been paid to what happened after the dramatic passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and the turbulent forces it unleashed. In this groundbreaking narrative history, Ari Berman charts both the transformation of American democracy under the VRA and the counterrevolution that has sought to limit it from the moment the act was signed into law. The VRA is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement, and yet--more than fifty years later--the battles over race, representation, and political power continue, as lawmakers devise new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth, while the Supreme Court has declared a key part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Through meticulous research, in-depth interviews, and incisive on-the-ground reporting, Give Us the Ballot offers the first comprehensive history of its kind, and provides new insight into one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time.
A tour de force of storytelling years in the making: a dual biography of two of the greatest songwriters, Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, that is also a murder mystery and a history of labor relations and socialism, big business and greed in twentieth-century America--woven together in one epic saga that holds meaning for all working Americans today.
When thirteen-year-old Daniel Wolff first heard Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone, it ignited a life-long interest in understanding the rock poet's anger. When he later discovered Song to Woody, Dylan's tribute to his hero, Woody Guthrie, Wolff believed he'd uncovered one source of Dylan's rage. Sifting through Guthrie's recordings, Wolff found 1913 Massacre--a song which told the story of a union Christmas party during a strike in Calumet, Michigan, in 1913 that ended in horrific tragedy.
Following the trail from Dylan to Guthrie to an event that claimed the lives of seventy-four men, women, and children a century ago, Wolff found himself tracing the history of an anger that has been passed down for decades. From America's early industrialized days, an epic battle to determine the country's direction has been waged, pitting bosses against workers and big business against the labor movement. In Guthrie's eyes, the owners ultimately won; the 1913 Michigan tragedy was just one example of a larger lost history purposely distorted and buried in time.
In this magnificent cultural study, Wolff braids three disparate strands--Calumet, Guthrie, and Dylan--together to create a devastating revisionist history of twentieth-century America. Grown-Up Anger chronicles the struggles between the haves and have-nots, the impact changing labor relations had on industrial America, and the way two musicians used their fury to illuminate economic injustice and inspire change.--Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, local 1 of the American Federation of Teachers
Winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Nonfiction A tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro -- the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music, and drama would inspire Black people to greatness. In The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, Jeffrey C. Stewart offers the definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance, based on the extant primary sources of his life and on interviews with those who knew him personally. He narrates the education of Locke, including his becoming the first African American Rhodes Scholar and earning a PhD in philosophy at Harvard University, and his long career as a professor at Howard University. Locke also received a cosmopolitan, aesthetic education through his travels in continental Europe, where he came to appreciate the beauty of art and experienced a freedom unknown to him in the United States. And yet he became most closely associated with the flowering of Black culture in Jazz Age America and his promotion of the literary and artistic work of African Americans as the quintessential creations of American modernism. In the process he looked to Africa to find the proud and beautiful roots of the race. Shifting the discussion of race from politics and economics to the arts, he helped establish the idea that Black urban communities could be crucibles of creativity. Stewart explores both Locke's professional and private life, including his relationships with his mother, his friends, and his white patrons, as well as his lifelong search for love as a gay man. Stewart's thought-provoking biography recreates the worlds of this illustrious, enigmatic man who, in promoting the cultural heritage of Black people, became -- in the process -- a New Negro himself.
Only Yesterday tells the story of the Roaring Twenties -- the decade that really began with the Armistice in November 1918 and ended in economic catastrophe and the Great Depression in 1929. Written in 1931, author Frederick Lewis Allen captures the decade in all its scandalous glory: Prohibition and the rise of speakeasies, flappers and the rise of hemlines, and prosperity and the rise of stock prices. Allen's lively narrative brings back a wealth of forgotten events, fashions, and absurdities, uniquely capturing the feel of a long-forgotten era.Frederick Lewis Allen (1890 - 1954) was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard in 1912. He served on the editorial staffs of the Atlantic Monthly and Century magazines and was editor in chief of Harper's magazine from 1941 until his death. "A perfectly grand piece of historical record and synthetic journalism." -- Chicago Daily Tribune
When Homeward Bound first appeared in 1988, it forever changed how we understand Cold War America. Elaine Tyler May demonstrated that the Atomic Age and the Cold War shaped American life not just in national politics, but at every level of society, from the boardroom to the bedroom. Her notion of "domestic containment" is now the standard interpretation of the era, and Homeward Bound has become a classic. This new edition includes an updated introduction and a new epilogue examining the legacy of Cold War obsessions with personal and family security in the present day.
From American master Richard Ford, a memoir: his first work of nonfiction, a stirring narrative of memory and parental love
How is it that we come to consider our parents as people with rich and intense lives that include but also exclude us? Richard Ford's parents--Edna, a feisty, pretty Catholic-school girl with a difficult past; and Parker, a sweet-natured, soft-spoken traveling salesman--were rural Arkansans born at the turn of the twentieth century. Married in 1928, they lived "alone together" on the road, traveling throughout the South. Eventually they had one child, born late, in 1944.
For Ford, the questions of what his parents dreamed of, how they loved each other and loved him become a striking portrait of American life in the mid-century. Between Them is his vivid image of where his life began and where his parents' lives found their greatest satisfaction.
Bringing his celebrated candor, wit, and intelligence to this most intimate and mysterious of landscapes--our parents' lives--the award-winning storyteller and creator of the iconic Frank Bascombe delivers an unforgettable exploration of memory, intimacy, and love.--Boston Globe