100 People Who Changed 20th-Century America

by Mary Cross, Editor


From rocket science to rock and roll, America has always fostered a climate of innovation—an environment that has enabled certain people to achieve success in many different fields. Louis Armstrong, Thomas Edison, J.P. Morgan, Linus Pauling, Elvis Presley, Theodore Roosevelt, Gloria Steinem, and Oprah Winfrey: all of these seemingly ordinary people served as change agents in American culture.

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Cover image for 100 People Who Changed 20th-Century America

January 2013


Pages 624
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics American History/Culture

To what extent does a person's own success result in social transformation? This book offers 100 answers, providing thought-provoking examples of how American culture was shaped within a crucial time period by individuals whose lives and ideas were major agents of change.

100 People Who Changed 20th-Century America provides a two-volume encyclopedia of the individuals whose contributions to society made the 20th century what it was. Comprising contributions from 20 academics and experts in their field, the thought-provoking essays examine the men and women who have shaped the modern American cultural experience—change agents who defined their time period as a result of their talent, imagination, and enterprise. Organized chronologically by the subjects' birthdates, the essays are written to be accessible to the general reader yet provide in-depth information for scholars, ensuring that the work will appeal to many audiences.


  • Covers 20th-century American history as seen through its movers and shakers
  • Shows how America led the 20th-century world in new ideas and inventions
  • Presents individual biographies that give a unique perspective on how the right combination of personality, motivation, and time period can to produce major change in a culture
  • Explains how the rise of media culture—the movies, television, the Internet—have changed America
Author Info

Mary Cross, PhD, is emerita professor of English at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ, where she was chairman of the English Department. Cross has also taught at the City University of New York and at the University of Delaware. Her published works include Praeger's Bloggerati, Twitterati: How Blogs and Twitter Are Transforming Popular Culture; Greenwood's Madonna: A Biography; Henry James: The Contingencies of Style; and Persuasive Business Writing: Creating Better Letters, Memos, Reports, and More. She was editor of Greenwood's A Century of American Icons and Praeger's Advertising and Culture: Theoretical Perspectives. Cross obtained her doctorate from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.



"Articles include portraits of the individuals, biographical information, and an overview of the person's impact and significance. The articles are written at a level accessible to the general public, making this a potentially useful starting point for research."ARBA

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