Like its predecessor, this edition treats their decade after World War 2 as a discrete historical era, the end of which represents a watershed in the political life of the nation. Despite the pressures created by the cold war and the challenges posed by developing nations, American politics from 1945 to 1960 reflects a relatively stable equilibrium. Although from different political parties, Truman and Eisenhower shared a basic caution in fiscal affairs and an acceptance of the global responsibilities thrust on the US after the war. Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans continued to contest elections along the familiar fault lines formed during the New Deal, and the American electorate divided its loyalties relatively evenly between the two major parties. Since 1988 when the first edition appeared, much as happened to affect our perspective on American political life during these years. Of greatest importance, the end of the Cold War and the subsequent opening of significant new sources from 'the other side' allow us to see through a different prism the decisions and stances taken by US presidents and policymakers.
In addition to considering the new historical literature, the author gives more attention to the challenges posed by the founding of Israel, the rise of Arab nationalism, the Korean War, the early stages of US involvement in Vietnam, and CIA operations. This 2nd edition also features a new photographic essay.
Gary W. Reichard is Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of History at California State University, Long Beach. He has previously held faculty and administrative appointments at The Ohio State University, the University of Delaware, the University of Maryland, and Florida Atlantic University. He received his B.A. from the College of Wooster, his M.A. from Vanderbilt University, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. The author of The Reaffirmation of Republicanism: Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Eight-third Congress, he has co-edited two books of essays on recent American politics and society: Reshaping America, Society and Institutions, 1945-1960 and American Choices: Social Dilemmas & Public Policy since 1960. In addition to teaching post-World War II United States history, he has taught the history of American immigration and ethnicity.