- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Andrew Delbanco tells of the stringent God of Protestant Christianity, who exerted immense force over the language, institutions, and customs of the culture ...
Ships from: Media, PA
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
Ships from: acton, MA
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
Andrew Delbanco tells of the stringent God of Protestant Christianity, who exerted immense force over the language, institutions, and customs of the culture for nearly two hundred years. He describes the falling away of this God and the rise of the idea of a sacred nation-state. And, finally he speaks of our own moment, when symbols of nationalism are in decline, leaving us with nothing to satisfy the longing for transcendence once sustained by God and nation.
One can, of course, imagine a nation without a consumerism that divided religion intensively into individual market segments. Or a constitution that ardently enlisted religiosity to sanctify its symbols of overarching social unity. Of a progressivism that sought to bring God too much into the world. Or a capitalism that pushed him too far away. In such a nation, the "ache for meaning", as Delbanco calls it, might have found the relief about which he writes. But that nation would not be—and never could have been—America.
—The London Times Literary Supplement
One wishes that Delbanco had had more space to develop the nuances he plays like a cellist using vibrato...Delbanco, among the most astute and original scholars of history and literature, wisely and convincingly develops the point made by Tocqueville: 'Faith is the only permanent state of mankind.' By plumbing the faith of our fathers and mothers—its wrinkles and rosy cheeks—we can begin to rededicate ourselves to a new story of transcendence.
— Joshua Wolf Shenk
An acute social critic surveys the soul of a country that believes first in God, then in nation (exemplified in the secular ambitions of Lincoln and Whitman), and finally in the narcissistic self, which has created a 'post-modern melancholy' in today's culture.
— Scott Veale
It must be terribly satisfying to hear Andrew Delbanco speak. The Real American Dream, a series of lectures he gave at Harvard in 1998, is filled with impressive oratory. He manages sermons and political speeches with facility, invoking great voices from our nation's history to contemplate the present state of the American Dream. Buttressing these far-reaching speeches with the quieter arts of poetry and prose, Delbanco builds a broad yet detailed 'history of hope' in the United States...Lucid empathy permeates Delbanco's chapters, and earns the book's subtitle, A Meditation on Hope.
— Doug Elder
The 'fundamental question' for the American mind, Andrew Delbanco says in The Real American Dream, 'has always been how to find release from this feeling of living without propulsion and without aim'; what he has written is a short but deeply literate history of this quest, one by turns witty and affecting.
— Andrew Stark
A fascinating, eminently accessible series of culture-forming 'stories' that focus on the pitched battle between the force of melancholy and that of hope. In the stories, Delbanco ruminates on American culture from the Puritans to the present. What binds the seemingly disparate stories of serious-minded ministers, secular politicians, and modern materialistic Americans is the struggle to find meaning in a world that often appears to be entirely random and spiritually incomplete.
— Sanford Pinsker
Self, Delbanco points out, will surely prove an empty, unsatisfying, and ultimately self-defeating object of worship. Unless we recover some sense of a common good, he suspects, we may be headed for moral collapse—or worse yet, the rise of some nefarious ideology or movement. Delbanco does not believe that the apocalyptic 'rough beast' of despotism is right around the corner—or inevitable. But he offers his jeremiad as a timely warning and a reminder of things that matter.
— Merle Rubin
According to Andrew Delbanco, today's consumerism exists to assuage our spiritual emptiness...Lurking behind our credit-card debt is the suspicion that our shopping sprees equate to nothing more than fidgeting while we wait to die. In [his] conclusion, Delbanco...[directs] to our attention the elemental human need to believe in something larger than the insular self, and identifies the solutions that filled this need in the past. These solutions are thoughtfully presented as guidance for us now.
— Kassie Rose
Delbanco's lecture-based essay is engaging and very timely.
— Ray Olsen
We're in what Andrew Delbanco has identified as the third phase of the history of hope in America—or, rather, the history of hope's disintegration...Americans, Delbanco says, have lost any sense of a common destiny. We have nothing larger than ourselves to worship...Unlike William Bennett and his ilk, Delbanco hasn't written a prescription for spiritual renewal. He simply charts the path to our current post-modern holding pattern: waiting for the next big idea, hoping for the return of hope. He might not have the answer for us, but his voice provides a quiet comfort in the empty darkness.
— Becky Ohlsen
God, Nation, and Self: through these, writes Delbanco in these essays (so brief, yet so pertinent), the citizens of the U.S. have given their lives meaning to ward off melancholy, that 'logical belief in a hopeless future.' Puritan Calvinism seems benign next to consumerist Calvinism. That's Calvinism as in Calvin Klein, where the free individual—the U.S.'s great gift to the world—is 'marooned in a perpetual present, playing alone with its baubles,' and the 'ache for meaning goes unrelieved.' But Delbanco's wit is itself the measure of the land of the free.
— Vera Rule