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The 1950s
  • Authored by: Richard A. Schwartz
  • From the Series: Eyewitness History
  • Trim Size: 8-1/2 x 11
  • ISBN-10: 0816045976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-8160-4597-6
  • Status: In Stock
  • List Price: $80.00
  • Imprint: Facts On File
  • Published: 11/01/2002
  • Dewey Number: 973.921
  • Reading Level: Grades 9 and up
  • Pages: 512


The 1950s chronicles a pivotal decade in U.S. history, when Americans radically reshaped domestic social life and adapted to an international order governed by cold war mentalities. As the country matured in the postwar period into its role as one of two superpowers in an ideologically polarized international order, Americans were challenged to adapt. While their tastes and attitudes evolved with the times, many Americans identified themselves more and more with traditional values, such as the importance of family and religion. The 1950s was a decade unlike any before.

This work offers a unique look at the transformation U.S. society underwent during the 1950s. As many places in the world struggled to rebound from the devastating effects of World War II, Americans had to come to terms with the threat of immediate worldwide apocalypse after the development of the H-bomb. At the same time, the civil rights movement gained momentum; suburban living, television, and rock 'n' roll became lifestyle choices; women joined the workforce in previously unheard of numbers; and baby boomers began to exert their influence. The 1950s provides a glimpse at the forces that shaped life in the United States during this fascinating decade, and it illustrates some of the ways in which Americans handled the rapid transformations of politics, popular culture, economics, and military strategy.

The chapters in this new volume in the Eyewitness History series describe each year of the decade with a narrative account of the most significant social, cultural, and political developments; a chronology of events; and eyewitness testimonies drawn from newspapers, memoirs of private and public figures, literature, and other sources.

Among those whose testimonies are presented are Ronald Reagan, Humphrey Bogart, Paul Robeson, Joseph McCarthy, Dean Acheson, Margaret Chase Smith, Katherine Anne Porter, Harry S. Truman, John Wayne, Reinhold Niebuhr, Adlai Stevenson, Rocky Marciano, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Nikita Khrushchev among many others.


84 black-and-white photographs and illustrations. 4 maps. Index. 3 appendixes. Bibliography. Chronology. Notes.

About the Author(s)

Richard A. Schwartz is a professor of English and fellow of the honors college at Florida International University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and has published extensively on 20th century American history, literature, and film. For Facts On File, he has written Cold War Culture. He is also the author of the award-winning Cold War Reference Guide and Encyclopedia of the Persian Gulf War as well as an encyclopedia study of Woody Allen's creative work and a study of the films of director Ridley Scott.

Reviews and Awards

"...readable...[the] appendixes enhance the work's appeal, as do the numerous photographs spread throughout the text...high school students preparing term papers will...find the volume useful."
American Reference Books Annual

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