We are delighted to announce that the first books in our Library of Modern American History series are now available.
The 20th century was in many ways ‘America’s century’. But as the US’ sole-superpower status begins to wane, a new generation of scholars are re-assessing the major moments – in politics, the social sciences, culture and the arts – which have made America the defining power of the last 100 years.
Promoting new archival finding and providing a platform for new voices in the field, the Library of Modern American History will enliven the debate on America’s past, present and future.
Find out more here.
Under the growing shadow of the Cold War, President Eisenhower announced his ‘Open Skies’ initiative to Soviet, British and French delegations at the Geneva Summit in 1955. In a climate of intense fear and suspicion, this proposed system of mutual aerial inspection was dismissed by Khrushchev and the Soviet Union as nothing more than an ‘espionage plot’. Nevertheless, Eisenhower campaigned for its implementation until the end of his presidency. Here, Helen Bury provides a new interpretation of Eisenhower’s ‘Open Skies’ programme, arguing that it functioned as a corrective to John Foster Dulles’ ‘New Look’ defence strategy – which relied on the threat of massive nuclear retaliation.
The US, the UN and the Korean War
Communism in the Far East and the American Struggle for Hegemony in America’s Cold War
Military, social and economic historians have long appreciated the significance of the conflict in Korea in shaping the post-war world. The policy of containment was formed, China was established as an important military power, and the US increased its military expenditure fourfold as a result of a conflict which killed over 33,000 Americans. What has been less appreciated is the role played by the United Nations and the British Commonwealth in influencing US strategy at this time of crisis. This groundbreaking study explores these fluctuating relationships, the tensions between Washington and its British Commonwealth allies and their impact on the development of the conflict, from its outbreak in 1950 to its end in 1954. Robert Barnes reframes the Korean War for the first time in the context of a United States less dominant than is usually imagined.
The CIA and the Soviet Bloc
Political Warfare, the Origins of the CIA and Countering Communism in Europe
The Central Intelligence Agency was established by Harry S. Truman immediately after World War II to provide covert political and military support to further US foreign policy. Strengthened by President Eisenhower, by the early 1950s, under the command of Allen Dulles, the CIA was actively overthrowing governments – Prime Minister Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, and President Arbenz Guzman in Guatemala in 1954. The Agency was less involved in Eastern Europe, however, where the Soviet Union had established control – despite opportunities for US interference such as the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the Czechoslovak revolt in 1968. Here, Stephen Long challenges the accepted view that the US accepted a post-World War II ordering of Europe which placed the East outside an American ‘sphere of influence’.
While the history of the Civil Rights Movement, from Rosa Parks to Martin Luther King, is one of the great American stories of the twentieth century, the related Black Power movement has left a more complex legacy. Its original leaders, Stokely Carmichael and Willie Ricks, were Black Nationalists, advocating a militant and extremist approach to tackle racism, while other leaders, such as Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers, believed that the struggle for Black Power was essentially a class struggle. Beginning with the folk-narratives told through song by slaves in the plantations, through the Harlem renaissance of the 1920s and 30s, the era of Malcolm X, the African-American art and fashion of the late sixties and ‘soul music’ and politics in the 1970s, Black Power and the American People will be the first comprehensive cultural history of the movement.