A Brief History
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From the author of The Empty Church (1996) comes another ideology-saturated piece of propaganda masquerading as history. Twentieth-Century America claims to be a college textbook, but it is really a lament about the crumbling of “traditional” values. In a chapter called “The “Best Years,—” Reeves declares that “to a great many Americans who lived through them, the years 1953 to 1963 were an especially pleasant time in this country’s history.” Before we can suggest that Betty Friedan (not to mention Rosa Parks) might take issue with his description of life under Eisenhower, Reeves quotes a 1995 journalist’s assertion that elderly women who were young mothers in the suburbs during the ’50s would “tell you those were the best years they can remember.” His portrait of the century’s close is revealing: He crows about the collapse of welfare as we know it, and wonders where have all the morals gone. Reeves relies entirely on the work of William Raspberry and Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom when discussing African-Americans in the ’90s, and he is more concerned with black participation in the sports stadium than in the voting booth (the large photograph of Michael Jordan will tell you you—re on the right page). The erosion of Christendom is a favorite theme, and in the final chapter Reeves proclaims that “the courts, in the name of the separation of church and state, were a major force in restricting the impact of the Christian faith. Among other things, they outlawed prayer in the public schools and drove Christian symbols out of public places. The highly influential New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union, among others, applauded these rulings.” Somehow, Reeves neglects to mention that the NYT’s and the ACLU’s applause was part of an international Jewish plot. If you want to learn about contemporary cultural conservatism, start here; if you—re interested in the nation’s past, skip Twentieth-Century America. (30 halftones)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-19-504483-5
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1999


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