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"Well-crafted in every way...a vivid and authoritative history."
--Cleveland Plain Dealer
In the Spring of 1917, America went to war with an innocent determination to re-make the world. When the smoke lifted in November 1918, the nation emerged with its sense of purpose shattered, its certainties shaken, and with a new and unwelcome self-knowledge. Seventy-five thousand American soldiers were dead, and back home a Pandora's box of suspicions and surveillance had been opened.
The Last Days of Innocence reveals how the fight to preserve freedom abroad led to the erosion of freedom at home. Drawing on American, British, and French archival material, the authors reveal unplanned and uncoordinated field efforts, as well as the unsavory activities of anti-dissent groups, from the Committee for Public Information to the Anti-Yellow Dog League, including a posse of children organized to listen for antiwar talk among families and friends. Here is the story of the fifty-billion-dollar war that gave birth to the Selective Service Act, threatened labor rights, stoked the fires of racial and religious intolerance, and concentrated the nation's wealth into fewer hands than ever before. The Last Days of Innocence tells the untold story of the war that rudely thrust Americans into an uncertain future--a war whose effects remain with us today.
"A lively and persuasive history of America's experience in WWI.... A sad, gripping account of one of the defining moments in our history."