America Ascendant: The Rise of American Exceptionalism (Hardcover)

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America Ascendant vividly portrays the global crisis that brought the media and the government into an alliance that changed the course of American and world history. President Franklin D. Roosevelt organized an extraordinary partnership between the U.S. government and America’s media outlets to communicate to the reluctant and isolationist American public the nature of the threat that World War II posed to the nation and the world. The coalition’s aim was to promote the concept of American exceptionalism and use it to galvanize the public for the government’s cause.

America Ascendant details the efforts of many prominent individuals and officials to harness the collective energy of the nation and guide the United States throughout World War II then describes its aftermath and the Cold War period. Dennis M. Spragg demonstrates how the news and entertainment of American broadcasters such as David Sarnoff, William Paley, and Elmer Davis helped rally the American people to fashion a new liberal democratic order to stop the global spread of Communism.

This media-government alliance, however, was not achieved without difficulty. Spragg highlights the competing visions and personalities that clashed, as media and government leaders tried to develop the paradigm that ultimately shifted American cultural and political thought. Throughout this searching history he sheds light on the underappreciated coordination between the media and the government to establish a liberal democratic world order and demonstrates why American exceptionalism still matters.


About the Author

Dennis M. Spragg is the senior consultant of the Glenn Miller Archives and the American Music Research Center at the University of Colorado–Boulder. A veteran broadcasting and media research professional, he is an internationally known expert on Glenn Miller who has been featured in the PBS television series History Detectives, the series Mysteries at the Museum, two BBC Radio productions, numerous media interviews, and many presentations. For more information about Glenn Miller Declassified, visit

Praise For…

"The strength of America Ascendant is Spragg’s exceptional prose and style. It is simply hard to put down. . . . The work is highly readable and may be the most comprehensive examination of America’s public diplomacy efforts during World War II to date. This would be an excellent addition to the library of any historian or student with an interest on the subject."—Jesse McIntyre III, Military Review
— Jesse McIntyre III

"[America Ascendant] is a powerful, different view of American Exceptionalism and a history that belongs not just in American history holdings, but media studies collections."—James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review
— James A. Cox

“What twenty-first-century Americans and the Exceptional Generations have in common with their forebearers is liberty, equal justice, and a respect for human dignity. With the momentous achievements of victory and global leadership came the blessings of great wealth and power but also an important duty. American leaders have not always appreciated these blessings or acted as responsible stewards of their trust. Although the nation has always continued along a progressive and ascending trajectory, mistakes and missed opportunities have bred cynicism among the intellectual class, political elite, and media that polarizes twenty-first-century American discourse.”—from America Ascendant
— Dennis M. Spragg
Product Details
ISBN: 9781640121430
ISBN-10: 1640121439
Publisher: Potomac Books
Publication Date: December 1st, 2019
Pages: 432
Language: English