This book concerns a very recent period of US history, so recent that many find it difficult even to view it as history rather than current events. If that is so, then surely it is the proper realm of the journalist rather than the historian. But the idea of writing the immediate past as authentic history does have distinguished precedents. As early as 1931, Frederick Lewis Allen published Only Yesterday, a still-valued history of the 1920s. Not only did Allen tell the story of that decade, but he daringly ranged far beyond the conventional political narrative to explore social, cultural, and economic trends. In 1940, he followed that triumph with a parallel history of the 1930s.
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