Must Read Book

Rogers, Daniel, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age (1998).

Recently, everyone talks about trans-national, international, or global history but few historians of the US do it, or do it well. Daniel Rodgers and his book prove exceptions to that rule. True, Atlantic Crossings is neither global history nor international history, but it certainly encompassses transnational history as Rodgers includes much of Europe, Australasia, and the US in his masterful analysis of how different states came to terms with increasingly industrial and urban societies. Rodgers shows more clearly and convincingly than any other contemporary historian how and why the governing ideas and principles of social and economic reform in the US from the late 19th century into the WWII years grew out of a dialogue among intellectuals, academics, and public officials that spanned the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Equally sensitive to differences as well as similarities among states and societies, Rodgers proves the acuity of Aristide Zolberg's allusion to "many exceptionalisms." This book should provide "American exceptionalism" a proper burial alongside the German "sonderweg." Moreover, this is a book that integrates intellectual history with reforms and state policies that affected the everyday lives of ordinary people, and always with a sharp eye for the nuances of different languages or the same language at different times.

Recommended by Melvyn Dubofsky, Binghamton University, SUNY

Distinguished Professor of History & Sociology and author of numerous books and essays in labor history (notably We Shall be All: A History of the IWW and The State and Labor in Modern America) and 20th century US history, most recently Hard Work: The Making of Labor History. He has taught in Europe, Israel, and several US universities.