The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society

The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society

by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Schlesinger
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The bestseller that reminded us what it means to be an American is now more timely than ever in this updated and expanded edition, including "Schlesinger's Syllabus," an annotated reading list of core books on the American experience. The classic image of the American nation--a melting pot in which differences of race, wealth, religion, and nationality are submerged

Overview

The bestseller that reminded us what it means to be an American is now more timely than ever in this updated and expanded edition, including "Schlesinger's Syllabus," an annotated reading list of core books on the American experience. The classic image of the American nation--a melting pot in which differences of race, wealth, religion, and nationality are submerged in democracy--is being replaced by an orthodoxy that celebrates difference and abandons assimilation. While this upsurge in ethnic awareness has had many healthy consequences in a nation shamed by a history of prejudice, the cult of ethnicity, if pressed too far, threatens to fragment American society to a dangerous degree. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner in history and adviser to the Kennedy and other administrations, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., is uniquely positioned to wave the caution flag in the race to a politics of identity. Using a broader canvas in this updated and expanded edition, he examines the international dimension and the lessons of one polyglot country after another tearing itself apart or on the brink of doing so: the former Yugoslavia, Nigeria, even Canada among them. Focusing inward, he finds troubling new evidence that efforts to preserve a plurality of cultures here in the United States threaten to do the same.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a courageous, important, forcefully argued essay, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Schlesinger contends that America as melting pot has given way to an "eruption of ethnicity'' that threatens to replace assimilation with fragmentation, and integration with separatism. As a case in point, he critiques Afrocentric curricula in schools and colleges which, in his view, glorify a mythic past and make such highly dubious claims as the notion that black Africa is the birthplace of science, philosophy, religion and technology, and the trendy but totally unsubstantiated theory that ancient Egypt was essentially a black African country. Those who attempt to use the schools for "social and psychological therapy'' to promote minority self-esteem are doomed to failure, asserts Schlesinger, because "feel-good history'' is factually flawed and does not equip students to grapple with their lives. Schools should certainly teach about other cultures and continents, he stresses, while faulting multiculturalists who forget that Europe is the unique source of liberating ideas of individual autonomy, political democracy and cultural freedom to which most of the world today aspires. The book was originally published in 1991 by Whittle Communications for selective distribution.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393033809
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
02/28/1992
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 8.58(h) x 0.69(d)

Meet the Author

Arthur M. Schlesinger (1917 - 2007) was a historian who served as special assistant to President John F. Kennedy. Among his many works are the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Age of Jackson and A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >