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The American Future – A History, Simon Schama

June 16, 2009

516YGKuVAyL._SL500_AA240_If you saw the TV documentary you’ll know what to expect, but the book is even better, and one of the most engaging books I’ve read in a long time.

Schama is a terrific writer and he covers the sweep of US history, and while all the familiar big events are touched on, he tells the story through the lives of particular individuals. Most compelling is the story of the US as a warrior nation told through the family line of the Meigs.

His argument is that America’s future is written in its past. Whether in discussing War, Religion, Identity and Plenty, the pace never flags and many of the simple stories from history made me pause at the familiarity.

Schama begins during the last election, seeing Obama and McCain as the contemporary descendents of Hamilton and Jefferson, particularly in their attitude to the military, offering a new future to the country by unconscious reference to what has gone before.

A terrificly enlightening read.

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From → Books

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