The Last Days of Innocence
America at War, 1917–1918
In just a few years early in the twentieth century, the federal government grew from one tiny cog in the machinery of American life into a colossus, controlling the behavior of every individual. Paranoia, suspicion, and hatred of foreigners took hold, forming the mind-set with which the nation made its first acquaintance with communism in 1918. It was a seminal period in the history of the United States and the world, but the American side of the story has remained largely untold.
The Great War was the gateway through which our ancestors passed from the relative innocence of the nineteenth century into our own troubled, uncertain age. The Last Days of Innocence explores this huge mobilization during America’s nineteen months of war with Germany in 1917 and 1918, including its corrosive effects on daily life at home.
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