Often referred to as the Contemporary Period, the end of the Second World War until the present day represents the span of our last period of literature. Why it is difficult to come up with a list of qualities that accurately describe the Contemporary Period of American Literature may be because the population has grown so large, or because printing and computer desktop publishing is so common, the situation is more chaotic than ever before. .
Perhaps, however, we will be known as a choppy period in which society has been broken into groups and fractions based on things like: race, religion, culture, gender, age, and sexual orientation. People tend to cling to their own group and our sense of national unity is weakening. However, it may also be possible that such social movements as multi-culturalism are forging a New America. In literature, especially, most schools no longer emphasize the traditional canon of works and authors, but are instead teaching the literature of a wide variety of cultures. There are works by Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, and so on.
In the years after the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire, a dizzying prosperity spread through the United States, while a tense, prolonged, and dangerous global Cold War against the Soviet empire and Maoist China took shape. The competition with the Soviets gave an added boost to the technological and scientific revolution; and American universities expanded immensely as centers for defense research, for the education of a vast new public, and as employers of creative writers and as arbiters of taste.
The postwar GI Bill sent millions of ex-soldiers to college "often to campuses that had never before been available to students of their means and ethnicity. The literary world of the early 1950s was energized by a confident and diverse new generation. As a result, the authors represent an unprecedented variety of national origins and social backgrounds.