In this book, Mark Whalan argues that World War One's major impact on US culture was not the experience of combat trauma, but rather the effects of the expanded federal state bequeathed by US mobilization. Writers bristled at the state's new intrusions and coercions, but were also intrigued by its creation of new social ties and political identities. This excitement informed early American modernism, whose literary experiments often engaged the political innovations of the Progressive state at war. Writers such as Wallace Stevens, John Dos Passos, Willa Cather, Zane Grey, and Edith Wharton were fascinated by wartime discussions over the nature of US citizenship, and also crafted new forms of writing that could represent a state now so complex it seemed to defy representation at all. And many looked to ordinary activities transformed by the war - such as sending mail, receiving healthcare, or driving a car - to explore the state's everyday presence in American lives.