THE AMERICAN: The Story of the Making of a New Man by James Truslow Adams

THE AMERICAN: The Story of the Making of a New Man

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here is the man who can -- for my money -- write my American history. No matter what his approach, he throws new light, revivifies the subject. This time, he has written the story of the making of an American through the panorama of our history, the influences, the indications that went into his molding. Not a book for the reader with no historical background, for he writes in broad sweeps, he attempts no chronological record of events. But it is all there, implicit in his characterizations of the earliest settlers, the dominant English influence and background, the infiltrations of other nationalities as the westward sweep began; it is there in his searching into primary causes that led to the American Revolution, the struggle for unity, the writing of the Constitution, the contribution in the Bill of Rights of the common man; it is there in our wars, our annexations -- different from those of imperialistic nations; it is there in the character of the new west, of the sections sharply differentiated; it is there in the breaks that led to the fight for the Union; it is there in the industrial revolution, the outreaching of communication and transportation. And what does he see emerging as ""the American"" Dominant, perhaps, the demand for freedom, the American dream, the earnestness of our games and play, the hospitality, the generousness, the versatility, the peculiar humor of exaggeration, the urge to gamble, the reluctance to fight but the ability given the necessity, the gregariousness and the aloneness, the democracy on a social plane, the individualism on the economic plane, the preference for the biggest and newest, the tendency to put woman on a pedestal but to refuse her companionship, the cockiness often covering insecurity, the innate isolationism -- dependence on two ocean barriers....Not a book for wide popular consumption, but a book for thoughtful readers. A book that will live.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1943
Publisher: Scribner