After the American Century
This week my new book appears - The United (and Divided) States. It examines the reasons for the sharp divisions in American society. The first chapter looks at the differences between six generations in the first chapter, starting with the "Greatest Generation" that was born before 1927 and is now rapidly disappearing from the scene, and ending with emerging Generation Z that voted for the first time in the 2020 elections. The generational divides are consequential, but there are even greater differences between classes, regions, and racial groups, all of which are explored in subsequent chapters. The middle section of the book then turns to look at the institutions and practices that used to hold Americans together, notably churches, civil religion, journalism, and business, all of which have been challenged in recent decades. The final three chapters then look closely at the American political system, the election of 2020, and the state of the (dis)union in 2021.
For those readers who know my Contemporary American Society, which has appeared in 9 editions since 1989, this is neither a revision (nor a replacement for) that work. Rather, it focuses on the crisis of the present.
The book has color illustrations, including the one above taken of a re-enactor for the Battle of Gettysburg, a decisive battle in the Civil War in 1863. It is restaged every year in early July, and each re-enactor plays the part of a particular historical person. Gary Carlberg has taken the part of Col. William Colvill of the Union Army's First Minnesota Infantry.
To read more about American civil religion, see