Designed for the general reader, this new three-volume set presents literature not as a simple inventory of authors or titles but rather as a historical and cultural field viewed from a wide array of contemporary perspectives. The set, which is ''new historicist'' in its approach to literary criticism, endorses the notion that not only does history affect literature, but literature itself informs history. The set features more than 250 survey entries. Subjects include: political topics (Reform, Women's Suffrage); ideas in context (Scientific Materialsim, Darwinism); values (Assimilation, Success); society (Labor, Mass Marketing); genres (Science Fiction, War Writing); popular entertainment (Baseball, Boxing); publishing (Scribner's Magazine); works of literature and nonfiction (''Billy Budd,'' ''The Theory of the Leisure Class''); and much more. The analysis of a wide range of classics in American literature, viewed as cultural and historical documents, cultivates critical skills in reading texts from various perspectives, including aesthetic, biographical, social, historical, racial and gendered.Quirk, Tom is the author of 'American History Through Literature 1870-1920', published 2005 under ISBN 9780684314648 and ISBN 0684314649.