Most history tells the story of the past through anecdotes, but anecdotes do not always present an accurate or complete picture. There is another way to look at history. The rise of widespread, systematic data collection in the twentieth century--the first measured century--allows us to examine the past 100 years with unprecedented clarity.
Now, The First Measured Century uses social data to tell us what happened to everyday Americans in the twentieth century. Whether the topic is politics, sexual behavior, economics, immigration, living arrangements, religion, longevity, or public opinion, this myth-busting popular reference work shows that the facts often turn out to be more interesting than the fiction.
A special feature of The First Measured Century is original 1999 research that builds on the landmark sociological study of the 1920s, "Middletown." With survey results that span more than seven decades, The First Measured Century offers the longest timeline of consistent attitudinal data anywhere.
This panorama of the American twentieth century unfolds in a series of key trends, each explained in a one-page essay written for the general reader and illustrated by one or more vibrantly colored charts on the facing page. The First Measured Century is an essential tool for anyone interested in journalism, economics, history, political science, sociology, demography, public relations, business, the arts, or public policy.
Theodore Caplow is the Commonwealth Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia and the author of many books, inclduing American Social Trends (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991).
Louis Hicks is an associate professor of sociology at St. Mary's College of Maryland and co-author of Systems of War and Peace (University Press of America, 1995).
Ben J. Wattenberg is a senior fellow at AEI, a syndicated solumnist, moderator of the PBS series "Think Tank," and author of many books, including Values Matter most (Free Press, 1995).