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|1||The myth of the chosen nation : the colonial period||19|
|2||The myth of nature's nation : the revolutionary period||45|
|3||The myth of the Christian nation : the early national period||66|
|4||The myth of the millennial nation : the early national period||91|
|5||The mythic dimensions of American capitalism : the gilded age||126|
|6||The myth of the innocent nation : the twentieth century||153|
Posted July 25, 2009
Richard Hughes work is a quick read but daunting due to its repetitious style and its logical format. Mr. Hughes tries desperately to place the American culture into his framework of myths.
He claims that there are five myths that form the foundations of our culture which are: the Chosen People, the Nature's Nation, the Christian Nation, the Millennial Nation, and the Innocent Nation. Throughout the book he seems to be struggling to fit our nation's history into those five frames.
He is successful to the extent of aligning the motives of the U.S. government and people throughout our various struggles, but the reader might find him/herself asking the question - 'what's the point?'
It appears that Mr. Hughes is trying to fit the country's historical record into five categories for no other apparent reason than to fit the historical record into five categories. At best the entire book is a tautology - one that constantly repeats the purpose of its theme without actually giving us anything new.
We all know about the influence of the Protestant Ethic, the immorality of erasing American Indian nations, the constitutional contradictions relating to minorities, the imperialistic aims of past presidential and congressional administrations, and the largely unpublished atrocities committed by many groups in our society against other groups.
And yet he concludes that we must continue believing in these myths, but that we should do so with knowledge of their shortcomings and in a more humane manner.
So I ask again - what's the point?
For readers interested in this topic, I suggest they go straight to the source - Howard Zinn who does a much better job of it.