• A Fierce Discontent

  • The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America, 1870-1920
  • By: Michael McGerr
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 13 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (55 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

The Progressive Era witnessed the nation's most convulsive upheaval, a time of radicalism far beyond the Revolution or anything since. In response to the birth of modern America, one small group of middle-class Americans seized control of the nation and attempted to remake society from bottom to top. They accomplished an astonishing range of triumphs, yet the progressive movement collapsed as the war came to an end amid race riots, strikes, high inflation, and a frenzied Red scare.

Michael McGerr argues the expectations raised by the progressives' Utopian hopes have nagged at us ever since. Our current less-than-epic politics must inevitably disappoint a nation that once thought in epic terms. The New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the Great Society, and now the war on terrorism have each entailed ambitious plans for America. But the failure of the progressive movement set boundaries around the aspirations of all of these efforts.

None of them was as ambitious, as openly determined to transform people and create utopia, as the progressive movement. We have been forced to think modestly ever since that age of bold reform. For all of us, right, center, and left, the age of "fierce discontent" is long over.

©2003 Michael McGerr (P)2018 Tantor

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A well balanced take

A straightforward book that covers both the virtues and dark side of the progressive era. It does a great job balancing between political theory and historical detail and anecdotes, making for a smooth listen. I started the book with some specific questions about the relationship between progressivism and liberalism, and the book delivered.

Very much enjoyed the narrator too, who has a refreshingly distinct tone of voice and carries the story well.

2 people found this helpful