American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy's Forgotten Crisis (Hardcover)

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Description


From legendary historian Adam Hochschild, a groundbreaking reassessment of the overlooked but startlingly resonant period between World War I and the Roaring Twenties, when the foundations of American democracy were threated by war, pandemic, and violence fueled by battles over race, immigration, and the rights of labor

"A riveting, resonant account of the fragility of freedom.”—Kirkus, STARRED review

The nation was on the brink. Mobs burned Black churches to the ground. Courts threw thousands of people into prison for opinions they voiced—in one notable case, only in private. Self-appointed vigilantes executed tens of thousands of citizens’ arrests. Some seventy-five newspapers and magazines were banned from the mail and forced to close. When the government stepped in, it was often to fan the flames.  

This was America during and after the Great War: a brief but appalling era blighted by lynchings, censorship, and the sadistic, sometimes fatal abuse of conscientious objectors in military prisons—a time whose toxic currents of racism, nativism, red-baiting, and contempt for the rule of law then flowed directly through the intervening decades to poison our own. It was a tumultuous period defined by a diverse and colorful cast of characters, some of whom fueled the injustice while others fought against it: from the sphinxlike Woodrow Wilson, to the fiery antiwar advocates Kate Richards O’Hare and Emma Goldman, to labor champion Eugene Debs, to a little-known but ambitious bureaucrat named J. Edgar Hoover, and to an outspoken leftwing agitator—who was in fact Hoover’s star undercover agent. It is a time that we have mostly forgotten about, until now. 

In American Midnight, award-winning historian Adam Hochschild brings alive the horrifying yet inspiring four years following the U.S. entry into the First World War, spotlighting forgotten repression while celebrating an unforgettable set of Americans who strove to fix their fractured country—and showing how their struggles still guide us today.  

About the Author


ADAM HOCHSCHILD is the author of ten books. King Leopold’s Ghost was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, as was To End All Wars. His Bury the Chains was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and PEN USA Literary Award. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Praise For…


“Excellent and involving . . . What makes [Hochschild’s] book so intimate and moving is its human scale.”  — Dwight Garner, New York Times, on Spain in Our Hearts

“With all due respect to Orwell, Spain in Our Hearts should supplant Homage to Catalonia as the best introduction to the conflict written in English. A humane and moving book, it is well-paced and meant to be read rather than studied.”  — New Republic

“A commanding performance . . . After reading Hochschild’s book, it’s impossible to feel anything but admiration—and awe.”  — San Francisco Chronicle on Spain in Our Hearts

“Hochschild brings fresh drama to the story and explores it in provocative ways . . . Exemplary in all respects.”  — Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post, on To End All Wars

“This is a book to make one feel deeply and painfully, and also to think hard.”  — Christopher Hitchens, New York Times Book Review, on To End All Wars

“An enthralling story, full of fascinating characters, intense drama, high adventure, deceitful manipulations, courageous truth-telling, and splendid moral fervor . . . A work of history that reads like a novel.”  — Christian Science Monitor, on King Leopold's Ghost

“As Hochschild’s brilliant book demonstrates, the great Congo scandal prefigured our own times . . . This book must be read and reread.”  — Neal Ascherson, Los Angeles Times, on King Leopold's Ghost



Product Details
ISBN: 9780358455462
ISBN-10: 0358455464
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: October 4th, 2022
Pages: 432
Language: English