Defining Documents in American History: The Emergence of Modern America Review

“The period covered by the documents in this volume is notable for such social movements as labor, immigration, reform, women's suffrage, and technology. The editor, who has produced a separate document volume for World War I in the same series, has brought together the Gilded Age and Progressive Era under the attractive theme of the emergence of modern America. Each document is contextualized with a summary overview, defining moment, author biography, document analysis, essential themes, and bibliography. Appended to the document is a glossary of unusual terms that will be appreciated by students. The selection of documents is divided into several categories: the end of the frontier; labor (and unions) pains; the lives of workers; capital (business and finance) concerns; conflicts farther afield (war, border conflict, and imperialism); minorities and mistreatments (Chinese, Native Americans, African Americans, and Mexicans); women, suffrage, and society; reformers and remedies; and a technological breakthrough. The choices contain essential documents and some surprises; some historians might look for more on immigration and invention than is contained in the volume, or, considering the title, more on the cultural history of modernism in the arts. Although many of the documents are available online, the contextualization and analysis provide a valuable aid to reading comprehension and historical education, particularly for social issues.”