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am 30. Dezember 1998
This is the policy-side answer to Kloppenberg's UNCERTAIN VICTORY. While that book focussed on intellectual links between European (esp. German or French) thought and early American pragmatism, Rodgers seeks more practical applications, well into the 20th century. He is so well versed in the literature that scant references are made to secondary sources. It is rich in the literature of the time, particularly journals, magazines, and newspapers from several different countries. Interestingly, unlike Kloppenberg this book examines England and Scotland which provide springboards for American reforms. Rodgers' thesis is that the Europeans tried numerous policies which Americans learned about and then implemented, almost always later than their counterparts across the Atlantic--and sometimes with very limited success. The book is also noteworthy for some of the most practical applications of MODERNISM yet seen in contemporary scholarship. This is a hot topic, largely seen in discussions of art or literature. Here Rodgers takes all that knowledge, absorbs it, and then demonstrates it in action across the POLITICAL spectrum. Despite the enormous research behind it, Rodgers has written an enjoyable, readable work that is of considerable importance. After all, this is the author of the famous article, "An Obituary for the Progressive Movement," (1970) which claimed that there NEVER WAS such a movement. Here Rodgers answers his own claim, saying that the American reform impulse built upon a European foundation and produced policies which survive to the present. My only complaint is that this book is slanted TOWARDS Europe, with maybe 60% of the discussion dwelling across the Atlantic ... the format gets a little tedious, with most chapters beginning in Europe, then the Americans pick up on the policy (welfare, municipal gas/water etc) and then they try it themselves. This is nitpicking, though, for such a substantive, well-researched, lucid work that defines this generation's scholarship on the Progressive Era.