KC Johnson

Spring 2014: Literature of US History, II

Seminar in American History II – HIST 84900

Required Books:


  • Historiographical Paper, 18-20pp. (40%)
  • Participation (40%)
  • Supplementary Reading (20%)

My Contact Information:


Jan. 29: Reconstruction

Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877

Feb. 5: Late 19th Century

David Nasaw, The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst (Mariner Books, 2001)

Supplementary readings:

  • Morton Keller, Affairs of State: Public Life in Late Nineteenth Century America (Harvard University Press, 1977): Scott
  • Sven Beckert, The Monied Metropolis: New York City and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie, 1850-1896 (Cambridge University Press, 2001): Andrew
  • Rebecca Edwards, New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865–1905 (Oxford University Press, 2010): Brian
  • Joe Creech, Righteous Indignation: Religion and the Populist Revolution (University of Illinois Press, 2006): John K.
  • Charles Postel, The Populist Vision (Oxford University Press, 2007): Sarah
  • Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America (Oxford University Press, 1986): Johnathan

February 12: College Holiday

February 19: Progressive Era

Daniel Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000)

supplementary readings:

  • Melissa Klapper, Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in America, 1880-1925 (Ivan R. Dee, 2007): Erik
  • Michael McGerr, The Decline of Popular Politics: The American North, 1865-1928 (Oxford University Press, 1986): John W.
  • Robert Wiebe, The Search for Order, 1877-1920 (Hill and Wang, 1966): Scott
  • Moshik Temkin, The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial (Yale University Press, 2011): Andrew
  • John Milton Cooper, Jr., The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt: Brian

Feburary 26: New Deal, World War II

David Kennedy, Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States) (Oxford University Press, 1999)

Supplementary readings:

  • Alan Brinkley, End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (Vintage, 1996): John K.
  • Colin Gordon, New Deals: Business, Labor, and Politics in America, 1920-1935 (Cambridge University Press, 1994): Sarah
  • Jason Scott Smith, Building New Deal Liberalism: The Political Economy of Public Works, 1933-1956 (Cambridge University Press, 2005): Johnathan
  • Linda Gordon, Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits (WW Norton, 2009): Erik
  • Michael Hiltzik, The New Deal: A Modern History (Simon and Schuster, 2011) John W.

March 5: Civil Rights

Michael Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (Oxford University Press, 2004)

supplementary readings:

  • Ira Katznelson, When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold Story of Racial Inequality in 20th Century America (Harper’s, 2005): Scott
  • Kevin McMahon, Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race: How the Presidency Paved the Road to Brown (University of Chicago Press, 2003): Andrew
  • Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff, Black Culture and the New Deal: The Quest for Civil Rights in the Roosevelt Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2009): Brian
  • Michael Pfeifer, Rough Justice: Lynching and American Society, 1874-1947 (2004): John K.
  • Keith Finley, Delaying the Dream: Southern Senators and the Fight against Civil Rights, 1938–1965 (Louisiana State University Press, 2008): Sarah

March 12: Race, Liberalism & Urbanization

Thomas Sugrue, Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton University Press, 1998)

supplementary readings:

  • David Freund, Colored Property: State Policy and White Racial Politics in Suburban America (University of Chicago Press, 2007): Johnathan
  • Robert Beauregard, When America Became Suburban (University of Minnesota Press, 2006): Erik
  • Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (Basic Books, 1990): John W.
  • Owen Gutfreund, Twentieth-Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape (Oxford University Press, 2005): Scott
  • Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (Vintage, 2010): Andrew

March 19: United States & The World

Fredrik Logevall, Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam (Random House, 2012)

supplementary readings:

  • Tim Naftali and Alexandr Fursenko, “One Hell of a Gamble“: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964 (WW Norton, 1997): Brian
  • Stephen Rabe, U.S. Intervention in British Guiana: A Cold War Story (University of North Carolina Press, 2005): John K.
  • Thomas Alan Schwartz, Lyndon Johnson and Europe: In the Shadow of Vietnam (Harvard University Press, 2003): Sarah
  • John Lewis Gaddis, George F. Kennan: An American Life (Penguin, 2011): Johnathan
  • Kurkpatrick Dorsey, Whales and Nations: Environmental Diplomacy on the High Seas (University of Washington Press, 2014): Erik
  • Jonathan Rosenberg, How Far the Promised Land?: World Affairs and the American Civil Rights: John W.

March 26: Review I

April 2: The 1970s

Judith Stein, Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the Seventies (Yale University Press, 2010)

supplementary readings:

  • Jefferson Cowie, Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (New Press, 2010): Scott
  • Nelson Lichtenstein, State of the Unions: A Century of American Labor (Princeton University Press, 2002): Andrew
  • Judith Stein, Running Steel, Running America: Race, Economic Policy, and the Decline of Liberalism (UNC Press, 1998): Brian
  • William Graebner, Patty’s Got a Gun: Patricia Hearst in 1970s America (University of Chicago Press, 2008): John K.
  • Aaron Brenner, Robert Brenner, and Cal Winslow, eds. Rebel Rank and File: Labor Militancy and Revolt from Below during the Long 1970s (Verso, 2010): Sarah
  • Kevin McMahon, Nixon’s Court: His Challenge to Judicial Liberalism and Its Political Consequences (University Press of Chicago, 2011): Johnathan

April 9:  Conservatism

Alan Brinkley, “The Problem of American Conservatism,” American Historical Review, Volume 99, Issue 2 (Apr. 1994), 409-429.

Matthew Lassiter, The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South (Princeton University Press, 2007)

supplementary readings:

  • William A. Link, Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism (St. Martin’s Press, 2008): Erik
  • Joseph Crespino, In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution (Princeton University Press, 2007): John W.
  • Steven Miller, Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009): Scott
  • Justin Vaïsse, Neoconservatism: The Biography of a Movement, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Harvard University Press, 2010): Andrew

April 23: Contemporary Matters                                      

Sean Wilentz, The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008 (Harper, 2008)

Supplementary readings:

  • Louis Hyman, Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink (Princeton University Press, 2010): Brian
  • Colin Gordon, Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Health Care in 20th Century America (Princeton University Press, 2004): John K.
  • Susan Levine, School Lunch Politics: The Surprising History of America’s Favorite Welfare Program (Princeton University Press, 2008): Sarah
  • Peter Baker, Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House (Doubleday, 2013): Johnathan
  • Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (Penguin, 2004): Erik

April 30: History & Memory

Patrick Hagopian, The Vietnam War in American Memory: Veterans, Memorials, and the Politics of Healing (University of Massachusetts Press, 2009)

supplementary readings:

  • Philip Napoli, Bringing It All Back Home: An Oral History of New York City’s Vietnam Veterans (Hill and Wang, 2013): John W.
  • Linethal and Engelhardt, eds., History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past (Holt, 1996): Scott
  • Michael Allen, Until the Last Man Comes Home: POWs, MIAs and the Unending Vietnam War (University of North Carolina Press, 2009): Andrew
  • Alessandro Portelli, They Say in Harlan County: An Oral History (Oxford University Press, 2010): Brian

May 7:  Civil Rights & Civil Liberties

Dale Carpenter, Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas (WW Norton, 2013)

supplementary readings:

  • Karl Boyd Brooks, Before Earth Day: The Origins of American Environmental Law, 1945–1970 (University of Kansas Press, 2009): Johnathan
  • Michael Klarman, From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage (Oxford University Press, 2012): Sarah
  • Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It (Basic Books, 2012): John K.
  • Frederick Lane, American Privacy: The 400-Year History of Our Most Contested Right (Beacon, 2009): Erik
  • Kristin Luker, When Sex Goes to School: Warring Views on Sex—And Sex Education—Since the Sixties (WW Norton, 2006): John W.

May 14: Review II

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