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The title Atlantic Crossings refers to the cross-pollination of social thinking between the United States and Europe (primarily Britain) in the first half of the 20th century. Princeton history professor Daniel T. Rodgers's extensive narrative shows that while many Americans saw themselves as essentially isolationist, many ideas that influenced their daily lives, such as city planning and concepts of social security, were not homegrown. A network of government planners, academics, and concerned citizens communicated back and forth across the Atlantic; their correspondence was marked by controversy, and an aversion to "non-American" ideas persists in American social planning to this day (Rodgers notes the scuffles over health care reform in the early 1990s as one example). Rodgers has assembled a prodigious mountain of facts, and he's written a credible and comprehensive account of how people on both sides of the Atlantic contributed in sometimes surprising ways to the social reforms we consider utterly American. --Robert McNamara [via]