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The World Transformed

1945 to the Present

Second Edition

Michael H. Hunt

Publication Date - June 2015

ISBN: 9780199371020

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

The most inclusive coverage of world history since 1945


Through its lively and accessible narrative, The World Transformed: 1945 to Present provides students with an account of the political, socio-economic, and cultural developments that have shaped global events since 1945. The book's focus on three central and profoundly interconnected stories--the unfolding of the Cold War, the growth of the international economy, and the developing world's quest for political and economic independence--offers students a framework for understanding the past and making sense of the present. Attentive to overarching themes, individual historical figures, and diverse nations--and now substantially revised with a new Part 4 that examines world events since 1990--The World Transformed, Second Edition, is ideal for courses on post-1945 world history, international relations, or global topics.

New to this Edition

  • A new Part Four: Integration and Fragmentation: The 1990s and Beyond (Chapters 10 and 11) examines the last several decades, emphasizing the tension between global trends and regional developments
  • Updated scholarship throughout
  • New case studies
  • Redesigned and improved graphics
  • Updated recommended resources, now with more websites and films

About the Author(s)

Michael H. Hunt is the Everett H. Emerson Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author or editor of twelve books, including The World Transformed, 1945 to the Present: A Documentary Reader, Second Edition (OUP, 2014) and Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy, Second Edition (2009). He is also the coauthor, with Steven I. Levine, of Arc of Empire: America's Wars in Asia from the Philippines to Vietnam (2012).

Previous Publication Date(s)

November 2013
November 2003


"It is difficult to imagine a better history of the world from 1945 to the present than the new edition of Michael Hunt's The World Transformed. Having added chapters that cover the post-Cold War decades, Hunt provides a remarkably informed, balanced, and nuanced exploration of an era of unprecedented globalization. His capacious narrative is attentive to both the upside and perils of ever accelerating transnational and cross-cultural connections and is replete with vignettes that underscore human agency. The World Transformed is the most compelling and thought-provoking assessment available on the tumultuous quarter-century from the end of World War II through the present day."--Michael Adas, Rutgers University

"The second edition of Michael Hunt's The World Transformed is the most comprehensive and up-to-date historical survey of the post-1945 period. While the overall structure and approach remain broadly similar to the first edition, new chapters, revisions, and features add substantially to the book's interpretive power. Of particular importance are the additions of two new chapters on the post-1990 period, which offer detailed coverage of the last quarter-century. In addition, thoroughly revised recommended resources at the end of each chapter will allow students to pursue the most recent research on a wide variety of subjects. It is a terrific narrative and analysis for any course focusing on the post-1945 period."--Heather Streets-Salter, Northeastern University

Table of Contents


    Introduction: The Post-1945 Watershed

    International Politics Reconfigured
    Wilson and Lenin as Rival Visionaries World War II and the Onset of the Cold War The Reach of Nationalism
    The Global Economy in Transition
    The First Phase of Globalization, 1870s-1914
    Globalization Reborn, 1945 to the Present
    The Colonial System on the Brink
    Vulnerabilities of Empire
    The Appearance of the "Third World"

    Part One: Hopes and Fears Contend, 1945-1953

    Chapter 1: The Cold War: Toward Soviet-American Confrontation
    Origins of the Rivalry
    From Cooperation to Conflict
    U.S. Policy in Transition
    Stalin's Pursuit of Territory and Security
    The Conflict Goes Global
    Drawing the Line in Europe
    The Nuclear Arms Race Accelerates
    Opening a Front in the Third World
    Superpower Societies in an Unquiet Time
    Soviet Society under Stress
    The U.S. Anti-Communist Consensus

    Chapter 2: The International Economy: Out of the Ruins
    Anglo-American Remedies for an Ailing System Keynesian Economics and a Design for Prosperity The Bretton Woods Agreements
    The U.S. Rescue Operation
    Occupation and Recovery in Japan
    Recovery in Western Europe
    The American Economic Powerhouse
    Good Times Return
    Disney and the U.S. Economic Edge
    "Coca-colonization" and the Mass Consumption Model
    European Resistance to "Americanization"

    Chapter 3: The Third World: First Tremors in Asia
    The Appeal of Revolution and the Strong State The Chinese Communist Triumph Vietnam's Revolutionary Struggle
    New States Under Conservative Elites
    India's Status-Quo Independence
    The Collaborative Impulse in the Philippines

    Part Two: The Cold War System under Stress, 1953-1968

    Chapter 4. The Cold War: A Tenuous Accommodation

    The Beginnings of Coexistence Khrushchev Under Pressure Crosscurrents in American Policy
    Crisis Points
    To the Nuclear Brink in Cuba
    The Vietnam Quagmire
    The Quake of 1968
    The American Epicenter
    The Ground Shifts Abroad

    Chapter 5. Abundance and Discontent in the Developed World
    America at the Apogee
    Triumph at Home and Abroad
    Warning Signs of Economic Troubles
    Recovery in Western Europe and Japan The Old World's New Course The Second Japanese Miracle
    Voices of Discontent
    The New Environmentalism The Feminist Upsurge Development and Inequality

    Chapter 6. Third-World Hopes at High Tide
    Revolutionary Trajectories in East Asia The Maoist Experiment in China Vietnam's Fight for the South
    The Caribbean Basin: Between Reaction and Revolution
    Guatemala's "Ten Years of Spring" Cuba and the Revolution that Survived
    Decolonization in Sub-Saharan Africa
    Ghana and Nkrumah's African Socialism
    Colonial Legacies in Ghana and Beyond
    Remaking the Middle East and North Africa
    Economic Nationalism in Iran
    A New Order for Egypt and the Region
    Colonial Crisis in Algeria

    Part Three: From Cold War to Globalization, 1968-1991

    Chapter 7. The Cold War Comes to a Close
    The Rise and Fall of Détente The Nixon Turnaround The Brezhnev Era
    Western Europe and Détente
    The U.S. Retreat from Détente
    The Gorbachev Initiatives
    Glasnost, Perestroika, and a New Foreign Policy
    The Demise of the Soviet System
    Explaining the Cold War Outcome The Role of Leaders Impersonal Forces

    Chapter 8. Global Markets: One System, Three Centers
    The United States in Transition
    The Stagflation Crisis
    The Free Market Solution
    The Rise of an East Asian Bloc Japan Stays on Course The "Little Dragons" Stir
    Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics
    Vietnam in China's Footsteps
    Revived Bloc Building in Europe Renewed Integration and the E.U. Post-'89 and the Opening to the East

    Chapter 9. Divergent Paths in the Third World
    The Changing Face of Revolutions Cambodia's Genocidal Revolution Religious Challenge in Iran
    Revolutionary Aftershocks in the Middle East
    Opposition to Settler Colonialism Apartheid under Siege Conflict over Palestine
    Repression and Resistance in Guatemala
    Dreams of Development in Disarray
    Stalemated Economies The Population Explosion Women and Development

    Part Four: Integration and Fragmentation: the 1990s and Beyond

    Chapter 10. The Power and Perils of Globalization

    The Dimensions of a New Global Order
    The Pieces Fall into Place
    The Magic of the Market
    Creation's Destructive Side
    Disrupted Lives, Torn Societies, Hollow Politics
    The Specter of Inequality
    An Environment under Stress
    Saving People and the Planet
    Agents of Reform
    In the Name of Human Rights
    In Defense of Life on the Planet

    Chapter 11. A Regionally Configured World
    The New World's New Era
    Hegemonic Pretensions
    Latin America Beyond the Cold War
    Crosscurrents and Conflict in the Middle East
    The Rise of Political Islam
    Flash Points
    The Return of Asia
    Competing Development Models
    China's Long Regional Role
    The Old World's Old Problems
    The EU Project in Trouble
    The Geopolitical Pygmy

    Final Reflections on the Post-1945 World: The Limits and Uses of History

    Recommended Resources

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