Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture

Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture

by Michael Kammen

Paperback(1st Vintage Books ed)

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Overview

Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture by Michael Kammen

Mystic Chords of Memory

"Illustrated with hundreds of well-chosen anecdotes and minute observations . . . Kammen is a demon researcher who seems to have mined his nuggets from the entire corpus of American cultural history. . . . Insightful and sardonic."—Washington Post Book World

In this groundbreaking, panoramic work of American cultural history, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Machine That Would Go of Itself examines a central paradox of our national identity. How did "the land of the future" acquire a past? And to what extent has our collective memory of that past—as embodied in our traditions—been distorted, or even manufactured? Ranging from John Adams to Ronald Reagan, from the origins of Independence Day celebrations to the controversies surrounding the Vietnam War Memorial, from the Daughters of the American Revolution to immigrant associations, and filled with incisive analyses of such phenonema as Americana and its collectors, "historic" villages and Disneyland, Mystic Chords of Memory is a brilliant, immensely readable, and enormously important book.

"Fascinating . . . a subtle and teeming narrative . . . masterly."—Time

"This is a big, ambitious book, and Kammen pulls it off admirably. . . . [He] brings a prodigious mind and much scholarly rigor to his task. . . . An important book—and a revealing look at how Americans look at themselves."—Milwaukee Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679741770
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/28/1993
Edition description: 1st Vintage Books ed
Pages: 880
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 8.00(h) x 2.21(d)

About the Author

MICHAEL KAMMEN, the Newton C. Farr Professor of American History and Culture at Cornell University, was a president of the Organization of American Historians. He was the author or editor of numerous works, including People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History, and A Machine That Would Go of Itself: The Constitution in American Culture, awarded the Francis Parkman Prize and the Henry Adams Prize. Kammen lectured throughout the world. He died in 2013.

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