Americans: The Democratic Experience

Overview

The third and final volume in Daniel Boorstin's award-winning trilogy, The Americans: The Democratic Experience wraps up his remarkable exploration of the American character. Beginning roughly from the time of the Civil War and ending with the moon landing, The Democratic Experience, like its two predecessors, spends remarkably little time with presidents, senators and famous battles. Indeed, in his account it is the leaders and their high-level dealings that are the footnotes to the experience of common people. ...
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The Americans: The Democratic Experience

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Overview

The third and final volume in Daniel Boorstin's award-winning trilogy, The Americans: The Democratic Experience wraps up his remarkable exploration of the American character. Beginning roughly from the time of the Civil War and ending with the moon landing, The Democratic Experience, like its two predecessors, spends remarkably little time with presidents, senators and famous battles. Indeed, in his account it is the leaders and their high-level dealings that are the footnotes to the experience of common people. Boorstin begins his book with an exploration of a distinctively American type, the "go-getter." The Western states, largely unexplored and unmapped, comprised a territory rich in opportunities for those willing to go find them, or, even better, to go make them. Boorstin provides fascinating looks into the formation of American society through the lens of these found and made opportunities. Oil, cattle, and gold are just a part of the story. His exploration extends across the whole web of social relations and business practices that were influenced and created by a nation's early experiences with its own vastness. We think of the typical go-getters, the prospectors and oil men striking out into the heart of the continent looking to make their fortune. But with this phenomenon comes a whole host of secondary effects that Boorstin examines in fascinating detail. For example, he points out that with a problematic lack of established knowledge of local customs and practices, businessmen seeking to establish themselves in the West had to find support and guidance. The role of intermediary, therefore, became a crucial one, giving birth to another industry, and a figure more enduring than the cowboy or the pioneer: the American lawyer. Along the way, Boorstin also tackles some more typical Western stories, discussing the cowboy, the frontiersman and the emigrant, bringing new clarity and discrimination to some old, familiar myths.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Mr. Boorstin tells the story of the invention of a new democratic culture and the reorientation of the national character through countless little revolutions in economy, technology, and social rearrangements ... Illuminated by reflections that are original, judicious and sagacious..." -- Henry Steele Commager

"A huge, fascinating omnibus of a book ... an exhilarating adventure that carries us along the highways and byways of a national history like no other."

-- John K. Hutchens Book-of-the-Month-Club News

"I have learned a great deal about the USA from Professor Boorstin's new book. He knows this country of ours as few historians know it ... I read his book with delight and gratitude."

-- Saul Bellow

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736613200
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1988
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged

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