What Is America? A Short History of the New World Order
by Ronald Wright,
368 pages, $29.95
There may be no other country in the world in which myth and history are as intimately entwined as the United States of America.
As history buff and novelist Ronald Wright (Stolen Continents; A Short History of Progress) points out in his eloquently impertinent and persuasive book What Is America?, it's a dance of co-dependency that dates back to 1492. Without the self-serving embellishments of myth – especially that which pertains to the endlessly exploitable horizon of the frontier — American history stands to lose the rudder of progress that sustains its "manifest destiny" as the anointed leader of the free world.
But freedom's a cunning little word, isn't it? If evoked with due persuasiveness, it can conceal a multitude of sin and hypocrisy. It is this history of persuasion, held against 500-plus years of events, actions and policies that contradict freedom's good name, that What Is America? deconstructs with such provocative rhetorical passion.