Hardback
March 5, 2019
9781421427270
9781421427287
English
248
98829
19
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
0.88 Inches (US)
$59.95 USD, £44.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Age of Fear

Othering and American Identity during World War I

Although Americans have long celebrated their nation's diversity, they also have consistently harbored suspicions of foreign peoples both at home and abroad. In Age of Fear, Zachary Smith argues that, as World War I grew more menacing and the presumed German threat loomed over the United States, many white "Anglo-Saxon" Americans grew increasingly concerned about the vulnerability of their race, culture, and authority. Consequently, they directed their long-held apprehensions over ethnic and racial pluralism onto their German neighbors and overseas enemies whom they had once greatly admired.

Smith examines the often racially tinged, apocalyptic arguments made during the war by politicians, propaganda agencies, the press, novelists, and artists. He also assesses citizens' reactions to these messages and explains how the rise of nationalism in the United States and Europe acted as a catalyst to hierarchical racism. Germans in both the United States and Europe eventually took the form of the proverbial "Other," a dangerous, volatile, and uncivilized people who posed an existential threat to the nation and all that Anglo-Saxon Americans believed themselves to be.

Exploring what the Great War meant to a large portion of the white American population while providing a historic precedent for modern-day conceptions of presumably dangerous foreign Others, Age of Fear is a compelling look at how the source of wartime paranoia can be found in deep-seated understandings of racial and millennial progress.

About the Author

Zachary Smith teaches writing and rhetoric in Birmingham, Alabama. He earned his PhD in history from the University of Georgia.

Endorsements

"This strong, clear, and well-written book provides a useful new lens with which to view World War I. General readers, as well as scholars of literature, history, and culture, will find much to recommend Age of Fear."

- Celia M. Kingsbury, author of For Home and Country: World War I Propaganda on the Home Front

"Informed by hardcore historical research throughout, this insightful and well-written book abounds with keen observations. Age of Fear makes an original and much-needed contribution."

- Steven Trout, University of South Alabama, author of On the Battlefield of Memory: The First World War and American Remembrance, 1919–1941

"A well-researched and well-grounded addition to the scholarship of World War I. Zachary Smith offers a fresh perspective by chronologically tracing the intense anti-German hysteria of the WWI home front."

- Lynn Dumenil, Occidental College, author of The Second Line of Defense: American Women and World War I

"Based on a rich array of sources, Age of Fear offers a fresh take on a troubling chapter of our past. A thoughtful analysis of American political culture with lessons for our own fearful times, it is a necessary and timely book."

- Christopher Capozzola, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen
Johns Hopkins University Press
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9781421427270 : age-of-fear-smith
Hardback
March 5, 2019
$59.95 USD

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