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New Spirits

Americans in the Gilded Age: 1865-1905

Second Edition

Rebecca Edwards

Publication Date - March 2010

ISBN: 9780195376708

288 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $42.95

Sweeps away old "gilded age" stereotypes and offers fresh and diverse perspectives on the U.S. in the late 19th century.


New Spirits: Americans in the "Gilded Age," 1865-1905 provides a fascinating look at one of the most crucial chapters in U.S. history. Rejecting the stereotype of a "Gilded Age" dominated by "robber barons," author Rebecca Edwards invites us to look more closely at the period when the United States became a modern industrial nation and asserted its place as a leader on the world stage.

In a concise, engaging narrative, Edwards recounts the contradictions of the era, including stories of tragedy and injustice alongside tales of humor, endurance, and triumph. She offers a balanced perspective that considers many viewpoints, including those of native-born whites, Native Americans, African Americans, and an array of Asian, Mexican, and European immigrants.

New to this Edition

  • Includes a revised introduction that presents a fresh and compelling reevaluation of the era
  • Incorporates new scholarship on such topics as agrarian radicalism and the causes of the Haymarket violence
  • Provides expanded coverage of national politics, public education, and popular culture

About the Author(s)

Rebecca Edwards is Professor of History on the Eloise Ellery Chair at Vassar College. She is the author of Angels in the Machinery: Gender in American Party Politics from the Civil War to the Progressive Era (OUP, 1997).

Previous Publication Date(s)

December 2005


"New Spirits is sophisticated, insightful, and (as my students said) 'full of facts.' Yet each sentence is readable, clear, and devoid of jargon. There is no other book like this one. I had been searching for an up-to-date Gilded Age text, and this is it."--Jeanette Keith, Bloomsburg University

"A masterful overview of the Gilded Age. . . . The idea to start with Reconstruction and make it part of the larger story of the late nineteenth century is genius. The book's ability to offer broad but incisive thematic ideas is extremely useful for teaching."--Michael J. Kramer, George Mason University

"The great strength of this book is its coherent and wonderfully creative narrative, which is beautifully written and alive with ordinary Americans in extraordinary times. Dr. Edwards is a master synthesizer who brings history to life for her readers. This is the best book on the market for teaching this period."--Katherine Osburn, Tennessee Technological University

Table of Contents

    Introduction: Democratic Vistas

    Part I. THE WEDGE

    1. An Uneasy Place
    2. Reach
    3. Work
    4. Money


    5. Youth
    6. Sex
    7. Science
    8. Faith


    9. A State at War
    10. Cooperative Dreams
    11. Executive Powers

    Epilogue: The Partridges and the Hippopotamus
    Questions for Discussion