Arkansas in Modern America since 1930

$24.95 $18.71

Second Edition
Ben F. Johnson III
360 pages, 6 × 9, 22 images, index
978-1-68226-102-6 (paper)
August 2019


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This second edition of Arkansas in Modern America since 1930 represents a significant rewriting of and elaboration on the first edition, published in 2000. Historian Ben F. Johnson fills in gaps, reconsiders his original conclusions, and reflects on new developments in historical scholarship, extending the book’s analysis of the political, economic, social, and cultural positions into 2018.

Particularly impressive for the breadth of its scope, Arkansas in Modern America since 1930 offers an overview of the factors that moved Arkansas from a primarily rural society to one more in step with the modern economy and perspectives of the nation as a whole. The narrative covers the roles of Daisy Bates, Sam Walton, Don Tyson, Bill Clinton, and other influential figures in the state’s history to reveal a state shaped by global as much as by local forces. The second edition of this important book will continue to set the standard for analysis and interpretation of Arkansas’s place in the contemporary world.

Ben F. Johnson III is the John G. Ragsdale Jr. and Dora J. Ragsdale Professor of Arkansas Studies at Southern Arkansas University.

“Few people know modern Arkansas as well as Ben Johnson, and fewer still can write about the state with as much authority. In this new edition, he extends his story through another twenty transformative years but also mines recent scholarship for a fresh portrait of the preceding seventy.”
—Patrick G. Williams, editor, Arkansas Historical Quarterly


Depression Arkansas: A Season Without Rain
I. Before the Flood
II. The Old Politics Survives the New Deal
III. Land and Labor
IV. The Quest for Tradition and Identity
V. When Electricity Came to Arkansas

Wartime Arkansas: Eroding Barriers
I. Questions of Loyalty
II. Mobilization: Changes at Home and Work
III. Industrialization without Revolution
IV. Sounding the Trumpet: Early Civil Rights Struggles

Arkansas at Midcentury: Manufacturing Opportunity
I. The Managerial Reform of Government
II. Land of Opportunity
III. The Springtime of Moderation: Early School Desegregation

Arkansas Divided
I. Lines of Resistance: The Little Rock Crisis
II. Civil Rights in Little Rock, Civil Rights beyond Little Rock
III. Politics after Segregation
IV. Many Rivers to Cross: The New Environmentalism

An American State
I. Uneven Progress: Corporate Growth on the Edge of the Sun Belt
II. Uneven Progress: A Rural Economy in a Global System
III. State Government, National Politics
IV. Life in New Arkansas, Life in Old Arkansas
V. Arkansas Culture: Fields of Memory, Stones of History
VI. Changing the Guard in a One-Party State

Selected Sources

The Histories of Arkansas Series aims to give readers a comprehensive, enlightening, and entertaining survey of the state’s history ably written by our leading scholars.

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