Myths America Lives by

Myths America Lives by

3.98 (111 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In this book Richard T. Hughes identifies the five key myths that lie at the heart of the American experience - the myths of the Chosen Nation, of Nature's Nation, of the Christian Nation, of the Millennial Nation, and of the Innocent Nation. Drawing on a range of dissenting voices, Hughes shows that by canonizing these seemingly harmless myths of national identity as absolute truths, America risks undermining the sweepingly egalitarian promise of the Declaration of Independence. The Chosen Nation myth led to the wholesale slaughter of indigenous peoples during the pioneer era. More recently the Innocent Nation myth prevented many Americans from understanding, or even discussing, the complex motivations of the 9/11 terrorists. "Myths America Lives By" demonstrates that Americans must rethink these myths in the spirit of extraordinary humility if the United States is to fulfil its true promise as a nation. Hughes locates the roots of each myth in a different period of America's development, and from each of these periods he finds stirring critiques offered by marginalized commentators - especially African Americans and Native Americans - who question the predominant myth of their age. "Myths America Lives By" is a dialog between the mainstream mythmakers and the many critics - including Martin Luther King Jr., Ida B. Wells, Frederick Douglass, Black Elk, Anna J. Cooper, and Booker T. Washington, Malcom X, Angela Davis, and W. E. B. DuBois - whose dissent, rather than being un-American, was often grounded in a patriotic belief in the "self-evident" equality of America's fundamental creed.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 159 x 238 x 21.1mm | 458.14g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252028600
  • 9780252028601

Review quote

"This most timely book comes at a point where our American myths may prove more dangerous than salutary in a world which sees our political practice at odds with our civic profession. Hughes has done the nation a great service in making us see ourselves as we are and as others see us. This is one book George Bush and company should read, and fast." -- Peter J. Gomes, author of The Good Life: Truths That Last in Times of Need "Myths America Lives By is ferociously rational in its moral character. Hughes has written an elegant and compelling book. I am convinced that the reader will come away with a deeper appreciation of the major myths that govern our lives. Richard Hughes is a brilliant, creative, and passionate scholar." --Molefi Kete Asante, author of Erasing Racism: The Social Survival of the American Nationshow more

Rating details

111 ratings
3.98 out of 5 stars
5 32% (36)
4 38% (42)
3 25% (28)
2 5% (5)
1 0% (0)
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