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The American Future: A History from the Founding Fathers to Barack Obama

The American Future: A History from the Founding Fathers to Barack Obama

Paperback

By (author) Simon Schama

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 416 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 28mm | 322g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2010
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099520397
  • ISBN 13: 9780099520399
  • Sales rank: 122,672

Product description

The American Future traces the history of a country whose most enduring trait is its capacity for self-renewal, especially at times of disaster. Examining issues of power, race and immigration, religious fervour and prosperity, this masterful portrait of the world's most controversial superpower looks backwards and forwards to understand why now, more than ever, the fate of America, and by extension the rest of the world, is hanging in the balance.

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Author information

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University in New York. His books have been translated into 15 languages and give an idea of his range: Citizens: a Chronicle of the French Revolution, Landscape and Memory, Rembrandt's Eyes, A History of Britain, The Power of Art, Rough Crossings and, most recently, The American Future: A History. His art columns for the New Yorker won the national magazine Award for criticsim and journalism and his journalism has appeared regularly in the Guardian and Financial Times where he is Contributing Editor. He has written and presented forty films for BBC2 on subjects as diverse as Tolstoy, American politics and John Donne and won an Emmy for The Power of Art. Simon Schama was awarded a CBE in 2001.

Review quote

"Schama is a genius of storytelling" The Times "The American Future shares Kerouac's almost inebriated eloquence, the words tumbling delightfully across the page, the sentences as playfully ornate as the Charlie Parker saxophone solos that Kerouac so adored... Also an inspiring and illuminating work of history, a reflection on the essence of America with a bedrock of deep knowledge behind the bebop prose. A more inspiring evocation of the spirit of liberal America - past, present and future - does not exist" -- Niall Ferguson Financial Times "The master storyteller takes on the greatest story of our time, America ... Essential reading" Tatler "This is the most exhilarating book that has been written about America for at least eight years...ebulliently combative...instantly engaging...weaving the immediate present with its earlier history... Schama has delivered a glittering tale of America's past" Spectator "A wonderfully thought-provoking book... Schama continually illuminates the broad sweep of events with reference to telling details...fascinating" Daily Express

Editorial reviews

The noted British historian examines current American attitudes through the lens of U.S. history.Schama (History and Art History/Columbia Univ.; The Power of Art, 2006, etc.) has studied Dutch, French and English cultures, among others, during the course of his career. In his latest, he looks at the United States, where he has spent a large portion of his life. The book serves as a companion piece to his 2008 BBC documentary series of the same title; in both, Schama connects contemporary feelings about war, democracy, immigration and prosperity with people and events from American history. In one effective section, he profiles several generations of the Meigs family, whose members served their country in nearly every major war. His take on the complicated subject of American religious fervor is particularly nuanced and refreshing. Schama can be guilty of overblown phrasing, as when he writes, "The Angel of History...watches powerlessly as the wreckage rises into the sky." He also tends occasionally toward sweeping pronouncements, as when he claims, "I can tell you exactly, give or take a minute or two, when American democracy came back from the dead" - Jan. 3, 2008, when Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses. More often, though, he attenuates his prose, using well-chosen historical examples to make subtle and insightful points, such as linking post-9/11 anti-Muslim bigotry to past nativist movements. The book contains some wonderful moments: President George W. Bush confiding that anti-immigration congressman Tom Tancredo is "an idiot"; Schama embracing his dry cleaner, whose son had been killed in Afghanistan. The author's fascination with and affection for the United States shines through, and he provides many engaging insights into the nation's past and future.Ambitious historical examination of what it means to be an American. (Kirkus Reviews)