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The end of American innocence : a study of…

The end of American innocence : a study of the first years of our own…

by Henry Farnham May

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A classic, if dated, examination of Progressive Era culture. ( )
  gregdehler | Mar 20, 2019 |
2255 The End of American Innocence: A Study of the First Years of Our Own Time 1912-1917, by Henry F. May (read 9 Dec 1989) This is a 1960 book which I found a little heavy going at first, but it turned into a very thought-provoking book which was informative and interesting. Its thesis is that the years 1912-1917 were the crucial years which broke with the past, and that the war was not what changed things. He discusses a lot of authors and magazines, and is quite perceptive. This has been a most worthwhile book, but I hope it is not out-dated by subsequent studies. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jun 19, 2008 |
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"The present age is a critical one and interesting to live in. The civilization characteristic of Christendom has not yet disappeared, yet another civilization has begun to take its place. —George Santayana, 1913"
To Henry Nash Smith
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Everybody knows that at some point in the twentieth century America went through a cultural revolution. One has only to glance at the family photograph album, or to pick up a book or magazine dated, say, 1907, to find oneself in a completely vanished world. On one side of some historical boundary lies the America of Theodore Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan, of Chautauqua and Billy Sunday and municipal crusades, a world so foreign, so seemingly simple, that we sometimes tend, foolishly enough, to find it comical. On the other side of the barrier lies our own time, a time of fearful issues and drastic divisions, a time surely including the Jazz Age, the great depression, the New Deal, and the atom bomb. Clearly oh one side of this line lie Booth Tarkington and O. Henry and the American Winston Churchill, and also, we should not forget, Henry James. Clearly on our side lie Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Stearns Eliot, and also the writers of television advertising. At some point, if not an instantaneous upheaval, there must have been a notable quickening of the pace of change, a period when things began to move so fast that the past, from then on, looked static.… (more)

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