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"Exhilarating ... Graced with

wonderful character sketches.”


“A grand and inspiring panoply.” 


The Dawn of Flight, The Race to the Pole, the Invention of the Model T, and the Making of a Modern Nation

Scribner, June 7, 2011

A captivating look at a bygone era through the lens of a single, surprisingly momentous American year one century ago. 1908 was the year Henry Ford launched the Model T, the Wright Brothers proved to the world that they had mastered the art of flight, Teddy Roosevelt decided to send American naval warships around the globe, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series (a feat they have never yet repeated), and six automobiles set out on an incredible 20,000 mile race from New York City to Paris via the frozen Bering Strait.

A charming and knowledgeable guide, Rasenberger takes readers back to a time of almost limitless optimism, even in the face of enormous inequality, an era when the majority of Americans believed that the future was bound to be better than the past, that the world’s worst problems would eventually be solved, and that nothing at all was impossible. As Thomas Edison succinctly said that year, “Anything, everything is possible.”



“[Rasenberger’s]  unique talent is on display again…..An effective reach across time that is both poignant and entertaining.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Readers might find themselves obsessed. America 1908 is loaded with fascinating facts about what was going on in this country 100 years ago…. [A] pleasurable and enlightening look at a time period deserving of the attention.” –Columbus Dispatch


“Jim Rasenberger does an excellent and nearly effortless job walking the reader through the highs (the sense of optimism that pervaded American life), the lows (the wholesale murder of blacks at the hands of lynch mobs), and the retrospective oddities (a Dewer’s ad touting the joys of drinking while driving) of a remarkable year.” –Philadelphia City Paper


“Rasenberger’s research is voluminous and he is a master storyteller.” –Chicago Sun-Times


“Rasenberger renders 1908 as a series of snapshots, and his camera never blinks.”
Publishers Weekly


“Rasenberger’s delightful new book… balances out the optimism of 1908 and the sense of a country taking center stage, against the adversities– lynchings in the South, terrorist explosions in Manhattan — that lurked just beneath America’s idealized vision of itself.” –January Magazine


“Jim Rasenberger has found the perfect aperture through which to view the explosion of modernity. 1908 was indeed a big bang of a year, a year full of hope and promise but also one which presented our world with a Pandora’s box of unforeseen perils. Readers will love — and historians will envy — the graceful simplicity of Rasenberger’s singular prism. America, 1908 effortlessly transports us back to the future, to a distant time and place that seems oddly familiar.”

Hampton Sides, author of BLOOD AND THUNDER and GHOST SOLDIERS

“America 1908 is an intricate time machine with moving parts that mesh like a fine old gold watch, transporting the reader to a time extraordinarily like and yet unlike our own. Rasenberger, a master of detail, gives us a superb rendition of an important and fascinating American moment.”

James Tobin, author of  TO CONQUER THE AIR

“This is a wonderful surprise of a book — a time machine back to the year when the American Century got going full tilt. Jim Rasenberger writes in a voice as winning as Theodore Roosevelt’s smile and pilots his machine with a sure-handedness that would have impressed the Wright brothers. When you finish America, 1908, you will swear you were there.”

–Patricia O’Toole, author of WHEN TRUMPETS CALL

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