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Watch Our Recent Virtual Event on WWII and the West

Kylie Gordon
May 21 2020

Zoom screen shot of WWII and the West It Wrought authors

With Professor Mark Brilliant of UC Berkeley, our co-founder David Kennedy, winner of the Pullitzer Prize in history, recently co-edited a book exploring the impacts of World War II on the American West. The volume grew out of a 2016 Lane Center conference by the same name, World War II and the West It Wrought. Arguing that a newly energized West emerged in the post-war years, the book's contributing authors appeared virtually at the Bill Lane Center for a Zoom discussion on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Video of that conversation is now available here.

With topics ranging from Mexican-American political activism in the West to public lands and executive power, the panelists shared their scholarship on multiple aspects of western U.S. history and how that history is inextricably linked to World War II and its aftermath. Below are the book's contributors and event panelists:

Moderator and Co-Editor

  • Mark Brilliant, Associate Professor of History and Program in American Studies, UC Berkeley



  • David Kennedy, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford University

Contributing Authors

  • Geraldo Cadava, Associate Professor, Northwestern University
  • Matthew Dallek, Professor, Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University
  • Mary Dudziak, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law, Emory University
  • Jared Farmer, Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania
  • Daniel Kevles, Stanley Woodward Professor Emeritus of History, Yale University
  • Rebecca Plant, Associate Professor of History, University of California, San Diego
  • Richard White, Margaret Byrne Professor of American History, Emeritus, Stanford University
  • Gavin Wright, William Robertson Coe Professor of American Economic History, Stanford University

From the publisher:

"Few episodes in American history were more transformative than World War II, and in no region did it bring greater change than in the West. Having lifted the United States out of the Great Depression, World War II set in motion a massive westward population movement, ignited a quarter-century boom that redefined the West as the nation's most economically dynamic region, and triggered unprecedented public investment in manufacturing, education, scientific research, and infrastructure—an economic revolution that would lay the groundwork for prodigiously innovative high-tech centers in Silicon Valley, the Puget Sound area, and elsewhere. 

Amidst robust economic growth and widely shared prosperity in the post-war decades, Westerners made significant strides toward greater racial and gender equality, even as they struggled to manage the environmental consequences of their region's surging vitality. At the same time, wartime policies that facilitated the federal withdrawal of Western public lands and the occupation of Pacific islands for military use continued an ongoing project of U.S. expansionism at home and abroad. This volume explores the lasting consequences of a pivotal chapter in U.S. history, and offers new categories for understanding the post-war West."


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