Disapproval of Harold E. Stearns’ Civilization in the United States

1485 Words6 Pages
Disapproval of Harold E. Stearns’ Civilization in the United States A number of historians and social critics have attempted to describe the American society and its culture of the 1920’s. Underneath the façade of richness, glamour and content, it contained hypocrisy, shallowness and debauchery. Historians commonly refer to the twenties as the lost generation. Harold E. Stearns’, Civilization in the United States faced a lot of criticism from intellectuals after it ruthlessly and negatively assessed the American society during the 1920’s. Although there is a common understanding among most intellectuals that the culture incorporated a lot of debauchery and corruption, critics of the 1920’s and later decades, such as the 60’s and 80’s have shown disapproval of Stearns’ overly negative assessment. Others, on the other hand, have criticized Stearns and the other authors for being too confident in the future of the American society. Stearns’ book is a compilation of thirty essays that according to their authors speak the truth about the problems of American culture. According to Stearns, the authors didn’t write the book to please their readers, but rather to make them understand the problems with American society (vi). The essays are written on a variety of themes such as problems with the city, politics, education, the law, the family, sex, business, science and philosophy. Although these essays concerned diverse subjects, they had three recurring themes. Firstly, all of the essays incorporated the theme of hypocrisy. According to Stearns, people pf the 1920’s didn’t practice the moral codes that they preached for fear of damaging their social status. Secondly, all the essays showed that America was no longer homo... ... middle of paper ... ...raphy Browing, James B. Journal of Negro History. Vol. 24, No. 1. January 1939 p.109 Krout, John A. The Mississippi Valley Historical Review. Vol. 27, No. 1. June 1940. May, Henry F. The Recovery of American Religious History. The American Historical Review. Vol. 70, No. 1. 1964. Purcell, Edward A. Jr. Social Thought. American Quarterly. Vol. 35, No. 1-2. 1983. Schesinger, Arthur M. The Mississippi Valley Historical Review. Vol. 9, No. 2. September 1922. P.167-170. Stage, Sarah J. Feminism, Narcissism, and the Family. American Quarterly. Vol. 35, No. 1-2. 1983. Stearns, Harold E. Civilization in the United States. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1922. Todd, Arthur. Civilization in the United States. The Mississippi Valley Historical Review. Vol. 27, 1940.

    More about Disapproval of Harold E. Stearns’ Civilization in the United States

      Open Document