Free Time

The Forgotten American Dream

Benjamin Hunnicutt
Book Cover

PB: $36.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0715-3
Publication: Jan 13

HC: $91.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-0714-6
Publication: Jan 13

Ebook: $36.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0716-0
Publication: Jan 13

250 pages
6 x 9

A magisterial overview of the history of the fight for leisure in the United States

Read the Introduction (pdf).


Has the "American Dream" become an unrealistic utopian fantasy, or have we simply forgotten what we are working for? In his topical book, Free Time, Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt examines the way that progress, once defined as more of the good things in life as well as more free time to enjoy them, has come to be understood only as economic growth and more work, forevermore. Hunnicutt provides an incisive intellectual, cultural, and political history of the original "American Dream" from the colonial days to the present. Taking his cue from Walt Whitman's "higher progress," he follows the traces of that dream, cataloging the myriad voices that prepared for and lived in an opening "realm of freedom." Free Time reminds Americans of the forgotten, best part of the "American Dream"—that more and more of our lives might be lived freely, with an enriching family life, with more time to enjoy nature, friendship, and the adventures of the mind and of the spirit.

Table of Contents

Preface Introduction: Higher Progress—the Forgotten American Dream 1 The Kingdom of God in America: Progress as the Advance of Freedom 2 Labor and the Ten-Hour System 3 Walt Whitman: Higher Progress at Mid-century 4 The Eight-Hour Day: Labor from the Civil War to the 1920s 5 Infrastructures of Freedom 6 Labor and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Dream 7 Challenges to Full-Time, Full Employment 8 Labor Turns from Shorter Hours to Full-Time, Full Employment 9 Higher Progress Fades, Holdouts Persist 10 The Eclipse of Higher Progress and the Emergence of Overwork Notes Index

About the Author(s)

Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt is an historian and professor at the University of Iowa. He is also the author of Kellogg's Six-Hour Day and Work Without End: Abandoning Shorter Hours for the Right to Work (both Temple).