THE SHAPING OF THE AMERICAN TRADITION by Louis Hacker
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THE SHAPING OF THE AMERICAN TRADITION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A major work- one can safely guess it will be given front page critical space, and- in its two forms- build over the years a permanent place as a superb piece of creative editing. Louis Hacker, whose course at Columbia in Contemporary Civilization is outstanding, is responsible for a major part of the work,- the Introductions to successive parts of the work, which comprise virtually a history of America, and the transitions which served to place the source material chosen to illustrate that history of documents. In each part four major divisions are set up:- the American Mind, the American Scene, American Problems and the United States and the World. By this means he avoids the pitfall of assuming that once analyzed the facts are static; he accepts the pattern of history shaping thought and action and interrelation of men and things. His General Introduction discusses the contributing factors to traditional American way of life:- Religious freedom, Freedom of Enterprise, The Weak State, Equality of Opportunity. Subsequent developments show how these factors were shaped- sometimes distorted- sometimes strengthened- but never eliminated. The sources from which he has taken his extracts include American philosophers, shapers of political and economic thought, distinguished foreigners, and documents of American foreign policy.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1947
Publisher: Columbia University Press