This set is similar in some ways to the 11-volume "America in the Twentieth Century" ["RBB" Je 1 & 15 95]. Both cover high (and low) points in American history in this century, and both are arranged chronologically. However, the text of this new set consists of articles reprinted from the Associated Press wire service, ranging from the death of President McKinley in 1901 through the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995. Articles are reprinted in their entirety, with dates, headlines, and bylines. Occasionally, an editor's note summarizes the outcome of an event. For example, after 10 articles about the Senate hearings on Clarence Thomas' appointment to the Supreme Court, a note reports that complaints about sexual harassment in America skyrocketed as a result. Each volume is indexed, and volume 10 contains a cumulative index to the set, including illustrations
Black-and-white news photographs are provided for many stories, but, in general, this set is not as attractive as "America in the Twentieth Century", which is more heavily illustrated with cartoons, posters, advertisements, maps, etc., most of them in color. This new set also concentrates on hard news, while "America in the Twentieth Century" stresses popular culture. However, what makes "20th Century America" unique, and what will make it useful in high-school libraries, is that this is primary-source material--news articles written as the events were taking place.