The Big Change: America Transforms Itself, 1900-1950
Frederick Lewis Allen (Harper & Brothers, 1952)
Over a half century ago, in 1952, America’s most celebrated popular historian set out to write the story of the 20th century’s tumultuous first half. The biggest change he found: the demise of America’s dominant plutocracy.
Missing Class: Strengthening Social Movement Groups by Seeing Class Cultures
Frederick Lewis Allen (Open Road Media, originally published 1935, new Forbidden Bookshelf edition, 2014)
A history of the “financial and industrial leaders” who constituted “our American upper class” between the 1890s and the 1930s.
The Acquisitive Society
R. H. Tawney (Harcourt Brace, 1920)
Back in the 1930s, a University of Chicago project set out to list the “72 Great Books of Western Civilization.” Only one book by an author then living made the cut. That one book, The Acquisitive Society, rates as one of the finest book on economic inequality ever written.
Edward Bellamy (originally published 1888)
Over a century ago, the most popular novel in America envisioned a United States that, by the year 2000, had totally conquered inequality.
Progress and Poverty
Henry George (originally published 1879)
“So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes, to increase luxury and make sharper the contrast between the House of Have and the House of Want,” George wrote in this stunningly popular treatise, “progress is not real and cannot be permanent.”