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Simon Schama's breathtaking examination of America...
The American Future: A History
Author(s): Simon Schama Publisher: Vintage Books
In November 2008, the United States elected a new President. But the collapse of twenty years of Republican conservativism means the country is already conducting an intense self-examination about the trajectory of its history; how it came to find itself in multiple crises and how an America that began as 'the last best hope for mankind' came to be so suspected and vilified around much of the world. "The American Future: A History", written by an author who has spent half his life there, takes the long view of how the United States has come to this anguished moment of truth about its own identity as a nation and its place in the world. In each of the chapters devoted to the most compelling issues facing Americans now — the projection of power ('American war'); race, immigration and the problematic promise of e pluribus unum ('American skin'); the intensity of religious conviction in public life ('American fervour'); the mystique of American land ('American Space') and its battles with the imperatives of profit — Simon Schama traces the deep history of the present crisis. Cumulatively the chapters build into a history of American exceptionalism - the 'American difference' that means so much to its people but which has led it into calamities as well as triumphs. "The American Future: A History" argues that if you want to know what is truly at stake, you need to absorb these stories and understand this history — for understanding is the condition of hope.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Simon Michael Schama CBE (born 13 February 1945 in London) is a British historian and art historian. He is a professor at Columbia University. He is best known for writing and hosting the 15-part BBC documentary series A History of Britain. Other works on history and art include The Embarrassment of Riches, Landscape and Memory, Dead Certainties, Rembrandt's Eyes, and his history of the French Revolution, Citizens. Schama is an art and cultural critic for The New Yorker. More on Wikipedia.
"I used to be an enormous fan of the late BBC journalist Alistair Cooke who weekly in Australia used to give us an insightful look into the culture of the people of the United States. Simon Schama I now think eclipses even Alistair Cooke. There is an understated charm in his way of giving us insight into the culture of the people of this superpower which offers both so much in hope to the world and is also perceived by so many to be an enormous threat to the world." ...Brian Coyne, catholica.com.au
"In the style of the best historians, [Keneally] allows the intrinsic power of the tales he tells and the people who populate his pages to draw the reader into a fully elaborated universe." ...The New York Times
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