Sunday, July 25, 2010

American Character?

Sarah E. Igo reviews Claude S. Fischer's book Made in America in American Prospect, July 15, 2010. "A half-century ago," says Igo, "writing in the crucible of the early Cold War, American historians were convinced that something ran deep among U.S. citizens linking them to one another--a national personality or fundamental essence that made Americans American. . . ."

Igo isn't quite convinced. "Concerned as it is with the contours of American character as well as culture, it is hard to read Fischer's book as other than an argument for consensus history." Still she finds quite a bit to praise in this sprawling book.

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