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On the eve of the twentieth century, the devoted British imperialist Rudyard Kipling made his first visit to the United States. Arriving at Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel, he found the gilt and mirrored bar “crammed with people talking about money, and spitting everywhere.” Others – he called them “barbarians” – “charged in and out of this inferno with letters and telegrams in their hands.” Outside, the streets of this so-called most American city assaulted the young poet’s senses. He discovered no color or beauty, only dirt for air, drab stone flagging underfoot, and overhead a tangle of wires and “absurd advertisements” for overpriced, inferior goods. Having seen first-hand the “grotesque ferocity” of the Midwest’s largest metropolis, he desired “never to see it again.” Chicago, he said, was “inhabited by savages” who seemed to have no higher purpose than personal profit. Americans, he thought, had yet to develop the will to use their political and economic gifts to earn themselves a place among the world’s leading nations.1
The third volume of The Cambridge History of America and the World covers the volatile period between 1900 and 1945 when the United States emerged as a world power and American engagements abroad flourished in new and consequential ways. Showcasing the most innovative approaches to both traditional topics and emerging themes, leading scholars chart the complex ways in which Americans projected their growing influence across the globe; how others interpreted and constrained those efforts; how Americans disagreed with each other, often fiercely, about foreign relations; and how race, religion, gender, and other factors shaped their worldviews. During the early twentieth century, accelerating forces of global interdependence presented Americans, like others, with a set of urgent challenges from managing borders, humanitarian crises, economic depression, and modern warfare to confronting the radical, new political movements of communism, fascism, and anticolonial nationalism. This volume will set the standard for new understandings of this pivotal moment in the history of America and the world.
On the green slopes of Slieve Martin in County Down where the Mourne Mountains reach Carlingford Lough rests a forty-ton glacial rock called Cloughmore. According to Irish folklore, the giant Fionn M'Comhal hurled the enormous boulder at Benandonner, his Caledonian foe from Scotland, and many believe that ancient Druids chose the site for their rituals. Rain obscures the view from the stone's side some two hundred days of the year, but on a clear day, a stunning vista from Cloughmore emerges: streams trickling down to the shores of the deep Irish Sea and, amidst woods running uphill, the small village of Rostrevor.
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