THESE UNITED STATES by Daniel H. Borus

THESE UNITED STATES

Portraits of America from the 1920s
edited by
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 From 1922-25, The Nation published essays by leading writers on each of the then-48 states, plus one on N.Y.C. Here, dusted off and intelligently introduced by Borus (History/Univ. of Rochester), are those pieces, by the likes of H.L. Mencken (``Maryland: Apex of Normalcy''), Sherwood Anderson (``Ohio: I'll Say We've Done Well''), Sinclair Lewis (``Minnesota: The Norse State''), James M. Cain (``West Virginia: A Mine-Field Melodrama''), W.E.B. du Bois, Theodore Dreiser, Willa Cather, Edmund Wilson, Jr., and a host of lesser-knowns. The essays exhibit a wide range of sensibilities and insights (Willa Cather finds Nebraskans ``as clean and full of vigor as the soil''; Mencken thinks Maryland ``a great, a rich, and a puissant State, but somehow flabby underneath, somehow dead- looking in the eyes''; Beulah Amidon Ratliff, in a horrifyingly dated entry, takes to task Mississippi's black field-hands, whom she considers ``dull and surly, apparently without ambition or human affection'')--but, all together, they offer a rich, vivid, and undeniably authentic period portrait of the country. (Thirty- one stereoscopic photographs.)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-8014-2747-9
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Cornell Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1992