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THE AMERICAN PARADOX emphasizes political participation and popular culture in recent American history. This reader's main theme is the relationship of Americans to their government, for example, how Americans as a people remain skeptical of big government even as they expect it to facilitate large programs such as Social Security. In addition to the author's vivid, accessible writing style, the Third Edition maintains its focus on the tension between popular culture and social realities, the dynamics of minority groups and their place in American society, and the ambivalent feelings of many Americans concerning the U.S.'s role in the world during the postwar period.