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David Nasaw is the Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center and the author of several books, the most recent, Andrew Carnegie. He is at work on a biography of Joseph P. Kennedy.
A search for American identity after the Civil War led to a surge of machismo and bloodlust.
Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920
by Jackson Lears, Harper, 448 pages, $27.99