"Progressive" is a term that has recently come to be used as a synonym for "liberal" or "left wing" in the US politics. However, this is not a book about current liberal politics not even about progressivism in general. This book deals with a very particular period in US history when progressivism was a major political force that more or less straddled political demarcation lines. The progressive moment coincides with the first two decades of the twentieth century, and the two presidents that it's most closely associated with are Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. The Progressive Era was marked by some major shifts in the ways that the capital was treated, and with the increasing regulation of many industries. There were also major social changes, many with decidedly mixed legacy. This was the period when women were finally allowed to vote, but the end of the period was also marked with the introduction of prohibition. The race relations were also not exactly an unmitigated success story of this era: while many blacks improved their lot in life (primarily by moving north), this is also the period that witnessed the resurgence of the Klan.
This book is an informative and interesting expose of one of the most important periods in the twentieth century US history. Many of the ideas and policies that had been first discussed then had a major influence on many of the subsequent politicians and presidents. Their impact is still being felt today, and anyone who wants to understand more about what is really meant by progressivism ought to read this book.