History is filled with surprises, not the least of which, was the very idea of America. Who would have ever imagined that a scruffy backwater of states could defeat one of the world’s great empires, forge an identity, and become a global superpower? Most surveys of American history show you the stunning rise of America and take you through the Cold War, a story that includes the tumultuous conflict in Vietnam and the cultural upheaval of the 1960s.
The 30 years of contemporary history following the fall of the Soviet Union, however, tend to get short shrift, perhaps because this period of history is still being written, or perhaps because the end of the Cold War is a natural stopping point, an inflection point when one story ends and something new - something unpredictable - begins. Nonetheless, events of today have been profoundly shaped by the past several decades, and one must understand this recent history to understand the world today.
Contemporary life is changing so rapidly that it can be breathtaking to take a step back and look at the cohesive “story” from 1990 to 2019, but this is precisely what America After the Cold War: The First Thirty Years offers. Taught by esteemed professor and Great Courses favorite Dr. Patrick Allitt of Emory University, these 12 fascinating lectures tie all the threads of contemporary life together to give you a rich understanding of the world we live in now.
America has always been something of a paradox - a colony turned superpower, a productivity dynamo with a widening gulf between rich and poor, and a land of the free that has abetted inequality and racial injustice. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, it seemed the US was poised for a new era of growth, equality, and peace, yet history is messy. The story of the United States is ongoing, but by synthesizing events and illuminating them within a context, Professor Allitt offers a fascinating exploration of contemporary America.