A Pulitzer Prize winner’s “immensely readable” history of the United States from FDR’s election to the final days of the Cold War (Publishers Weekly).
The Crosswinds of Freedom is an articulate and incisive examination of the United States during its rise to become the world’s sole superpower. Here is a young democracy transformed by the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War, the rapid pace of technological change, and the distinct visions of nine presidents. Spanning fifty-six years and touching on many corners of the nation’s complex cultural tapestry, Burns’s work is a remarkable look at the forces that gave rise to the “American Century.”
Immensely readable, epic in scope yet intimately personal in detail, this sweeping 864-page history of the United States extends from FDR's nomination to the presidency in 1932 to the election of George Bush. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Burns sees the U.S. as a nation of hazy, undefined ends and shaky, pluralistic means. He admires Roosevelt but criticizes the New Deal because it ``failed to fashion an effective economic strategy and stick with it.'' With 1950s' affluence, he notes, came widespread escapism, intertwining of government and the press, McCarthyism, conformity, compartmentalized work. Burns portrays JFK and LBJ as men who ultimately failed to respond to the cries for freedom emanating from the Third World. He is brief and equivocal on Reagan's rightist counterrevolution, though he recognizes Reagan's mandate to throw liberal elements out of the Republican Party and consolidate conservative power. Chapters broadly delineate the civil rights, feminist and student movements, Vietnam, cultural and technological ferment. This is the final volume of Burns's trilogy which includes The Vineyard of Liberty and The Workshop of Democracy.