The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s

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University of Georgia Press, 2009 - History - 542 pages
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In a book that William E. Leuchtenburg, writing in the Atlantic, called “a work of considerable power,” Allen Matusow documents the rise and fall of 1960s liberalism. He offers deft treatments of the major topics—anticommunism, civil rights, Great Society programs, the counterculture—making the most, throughout, of his subject’s tremendous narrative potential. Matusow’s preface to the new edition explains the sometimes critical tone of his study. The Unraveling of America, he says, “was intended as a cautionary tale for liberals in the hope that when their hour struck again, they might perhaps be fortified against past error. Now that they have another chance, a look back at the 1960s might serve them well.”
 

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Cogent critique of domestic policy under presidents JFK and LBJ shows how American prosperity was squandered on a pointless war in Vietnam and a clueless war on poverty. Read full review

Contents

The Liberals the Candidate and the Election of 1960
3
Kennedy Keynes and the Corporations
30
The Issue of Civil Rights
60
Origins of the War on Poverty
97
The Election of 1964
131
War Inflation and Farewell to Keynes
153
Triumph and Retreat
180
The Failure of the Welfare State
217
The Strange History
243
Rise and Fall of a Counterculture
275
Rise and Fall of the New Left
308
Black Power
345
The War the Liberals and the Overthrow of LBJ
376
The Election of 1968
395
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About the author (2009)

Allen J. Matusow is the W. G. Twyman Professor of History at Rice University. He is the author of Nixon’s Economy: Boom, Busts, Dollars, and Votes and Farm Policies and Politics in the Truman Years.

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