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Part of the multivolume Oxford History of the United States, Grand Expectations spotlights the United States at the center of the international stage during the post World War II years. The book opens on country very different from the U.S. of today--racial segregation was law and more than half the nation's farm dwellings had no electricity. With England, Germany, and Japan ravaged by war, the U.S. entered a period of prosperity that soared to unimaginable heights in the 1960s. Though Patterson ends his book with the downfall of Nixon and the beginnings of a troubled economy, he concludes that the U.S. in 1974, "remained one of the most stable societies in the world." [via]