The American Future: A History

The American Future: A History

Hardback

By (author) Simon Schama

List price $31.24

Unavailable - AbeBooks may have this title.

Additional formats available

Format
Paperback $14.39
Hardback $26.48
  • Publisher: The Bodley Head Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 238mm x 40mm | 821g
  • Publication date: 2 October 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1847920004
  • ISBN 13: 9781847920003
  • Illustrations note: illustrations
  • Sales rank: 89,501

Product description

In November 2008 the United States will elect a new President. But the imminent 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 of earth' 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 and its battles with the imperatives of profit ('American Plenty'- 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.

Other people who viewed this bought:

Showing items 1 to 10 of 10

Other books in this category

Showing items 1 to 11 of 11
Categories:

Author information

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University in New York, and was awarded a C.B.E. in the 2001 New Year's Honours List. Since 1995 he has been art and culture critic for The New Yorker and essayist for The Guardian. His award-winning books include Citizens; Rembrandt's Eyes and the History of Britain trilogy. His most recent book, Simon Schama's Power of Art, was published to critical acclaim in 2006.

Review quote

"Schama has a masterly ability to conjure up character and vivify conflict." -- Ben Rogers Financial Times "He remains a master storyteller, admirably and sceptically well read in current revisionist histories." The Times "Simon Schama is many things: widely ranging historian, art critic, public intellectual, television don... This ragged, brilliant, hopscotching volume of vaguely connected essays is largely about America's myth of its own exceptionalism" The Guardian "The master storyteller takes on the greatest story of our time, America ... Britain's foremost historian comes to a greater understanding of its present and future. Essential reading" -- Sebastian Shakespeare Tatler "Schama remains the subtlest of story-tellers... fans of Schama will wish the book were twice as long... What makes this book so bracing is the way Schama shows how unlike itself America has become" -- Tom Payne Daily Telegraph

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)