The war was to be won as fast as possible, Roosevelt decreed; and other claims--ideals or principles--must bow to necessity. So, awash in slogans, G.I. heroes took shape as small-town athletes whose brave new world was home sweet home. After years of depression, incomes and spending soared, and the ads promised a consumer paradise after the war. Big business, subsidized by cost-plus government contracts, doubled its share of the national pie--while trumpeting the glories of free enterprise. Japanese-Americans were interned, European Jews were left to die, and black Americans continued to be denied jobs, homes, and dignity. The presumption of American material and moral superiority flowered. In a fluent narrative that's a model of synthesis Professor Blum (History, Yale), author also of Roosevelt and Morgenthau (1970), displays diverse facets of our former--and present--selves, then subsumes them in a lively chronicle of wartime politics. The '42 Republican upsurge ensconces Halleck and Dirksen, Vandenberg, Dewey, and Taft. It is no time for the crusading Wendell Willkie of One Worm or the visions, however practical, of Henry Wallace; but Roosevelt, the old fox, rides out the country's discontents to an easy fourth-term victory. Expert popular history, with solid new material on the struggle to save small business and the growth of the Negro protest movement in particular.