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.
|Series:||Larger Agenda Series|
|Product dimensions:||7.30(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.50(d)|
About 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a brilliant essay on multiculturalism. Schlesinger points out that "a common language is a necessary bond of national cohesion." So we should do everything possible to ensure that those who live here in Britain can speak English. We need to have a common culture, in our single society, of one nation. We should defend British working class culture, which is the positive aspect of our country's history, while rejecting the bourgeoisie's imperial, reactionary culture. Schlesinger writes, "Belief in one's own culture does not require disdain for other cultures." This is like self-respect - respecting oneself does not mean disrespect for other people.