The First Measured Century : An Illustrated Guide to Trends in America, 1900-2000

Louis Caplow

ISBN 10: 0844741388 / ISBN 13: 9780844741383
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[ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ][ Ships Daily ] [ Underlining/Highlighting: NONE ] [ Writing: NONE ] [ Edition: first ] Publisher: AEI Press Pub Date: 11/20/2000 Binding: Paperback Pages: 300 first edition. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: Most history tells the story of the past through anecdotes, but anecdotes do not always present an accurate or complete picture. There is another way to look at history. The rise of widespread, systematic data collection in the twentieth century―the first measured century―allows us to examine the past 100 years with unprecedented clarity.

Now, The First Measured Century uses social data to tell us what happened to everyday Americans in the twentieth century. Whether the topic is politics, sexual behavior, economics, immigration, living arrangements, religion, longevity, or public opinion, this myth-busting popular reference work shows that the facts often turn out to be more interesting than the fiction.

A special feature of The First Measured Century is original 1999 research that builds on the landmark sociological study of the 1920s, "Middletown." With survey results that span more than seven decades, The First Measured Century offers the longest timeline of consistent attitudinal data anywhere.

This panorama of the American twentieth century unfolds in a series of key trends, each explained in a one-page essay written for the general reader and illustrated by one or more vibrantly colored charts on the facing page. The First Measured Century is an essential tool for anyone interested in journalism, economics, history, political science, sociology, demography, public relations, business, the arts, or public policy.

Review: More than 100 years ago, U.S. President James Garfield predicted that the compilation of detailed statistics would ultimately provide us with a new way to view history. In the 1900s, America did indeed live up Garfield's prophesy by studiously measuring everything from population growth and occupational inclination to crime trends and food fads. The First Measured Century, produced in conjunction with a PBS special of the same name, expertly catalogs and analyzes the "numerical thinking" that has subsequently taken place.

Authors Theodore Caplow, Louis Hicks, and TV host Ben Wattenberg are all accomplished social scientists who have collectively produced dozens of books, articles, and television shows on the trends these statistics amplify. Here, they compile statistics derived from government sources and independent polling data into sections on work, education, family, religion, money, politics, business, and more. Each is further divided into single-page essays that begin with one overarching theme ("The concentration of working women in a few occupations diminished as they found employment throughout the economy") and conclude with charts and graphs that underscore the point (in this case, precisely how women left farming, domestic, and factory work from 1900 through 1998 for clerical and sales jobs, teaching, nursing, and other professional occupations). All in all, a highly informative--and entertaining--read. --Howard Rothman

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