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American Studies - Essays

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What was the real significance of William James's breakdown? Of the anti-Semitism in T.S. Eliot's writing? What's the connection between Larry Flynt's Hustler and Jerry Falwell's evangelism? Why doesn't Norman Mailer "get" Madonna? And who else but Louis Menand would describe former Vice President Al Gore as "a holist, a post-postmodernist, and a goo-goo"?
At each step in his latest journey through American culture history, Menand has an original point to make. Like The Metaphysical Club, American Studies—is game and detached, with a strong curiosity about the reasons ideas insinuate themselves into the culture at large. Menand explores the rise and fall of the TV network, the importance of Richard Wright, Pauline Kael, and Rolling Stone, and why we dropped the bomb. He lends an ear to Al Gore in the White House as the Starr Report is presented to the public. And he makes us look more closely at our world and ourselves.
From one of our leading thinkers and critics, known for his "sly wit and reportorial high-jinks...clarity and rigor" (The Nation), these essays are incisive, thought-provoking, and compelling—intellectual and cultural history at its best.
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