- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Michael DirdaOn the surface, a history of transcendentalism hardly seems especially electrifying or contemporary. Isn't this a subject for one of those standard and rather tired seminars regularly offered in American studies programs, sometimes with a subtitle like "Emerson, Fuller and Thoreau"? But there's nothing perfunctory or dryly academic about American Transcendentalism. Philip F. Gura writes a lean, impassioned prose, chockablock with anecdote and information. By mixing a dozen brief biographies with sustained narrative—about contemporary religious belief, social commitment, just and unjust wars, the rights and plights of women and African Americans—Gura underscores how much we remain the descendants of these still too little known thinkers and crusaders. Above all, his exciting, even eye-opening book shows us that from 1830 to 1850 a group of New England preachers and intellectuals confronted what has proved to be the great polarizing tension in American history, that between hyperindividualism and the claims of social justice and human brotherhood.
—The Washington Post