Short Study Guide for Standing at Armageddon: The United
5 October 1999
Good Afternoon, Professor Zeidel,
Thanks for your gracious comments about STANDING AT ARMAGEDDON.
I'm delighted that readers are finding the book interesting and useful. What
follows isn't exactly an outline, but I hope it'll give your teachers
a clearer sense of what I wanted to do in the book. ARMAGEDDON aims to
1. What happened. Having read a million American history
books in which the writer engages other historians without letting readers
know the events and figures being discussed, I wanted to lay out a narrative
political history that clearly explained important events and people in
the national political life of the period.
2. Where the money came from and where it went. I thought
it important for readers to understand the economic issues that lay at
the bottom of crucial political controversies, especially taxation--including
tariffs and income taxes--currency, and the federal reserve system.
3. Ordinary people's part in national political history.
Because most Americans at the time were (and still are) working people,
their situation and their influence on the political economy of the time
lie at the center of ARMAGEDDON.
4. The integration of international issues with domestic
policy, which is how Americans experienced them. Therefore the chapters
on foreign wars explain how they played out in domestic politics, and
when Woodrow Wilson goes to Paris and Versailles, ARMAGEDDON remains focused
on American domestic issues--such as inflation and strikes.
5. A definition of "Americans" that doesn't exclude
people whose citizenship was compromised, e.g., white women and people
All in all, I didn't want ARMAGEDDON to come off as a provincial
American history with blinders on.