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This title in other editions

A Nation Among Nations: America's Place in World History

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A Nation Among Nations: America's Place in World History Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"An original, ambitious, and consistently provocative book that should change the way we study and teach American history." Eric Foner, Columbia University
 
In this major book, Thomas Bender recasts the developments central to American history by setting them in a global context, and showing both the importance and ordinariness of Americas international entanglements over five centuries.

Bender focuses on five major themes, beginning with 1492 and “the age of discovery,” when people everywhere first felt the transforming effects of oceanic trade. He asks us to see our Revolution as one of several similar rebellions around the globe, and the Civil War as part of a larger history associating the new meaning of nationhood with freedom. He also examines the American commitment to empire from Jeffersons presidency to our own time, and makes it clear that Americas responses to capitalist industrialization and urbanization were part of a worldwide conversation.

Thomas Bender is professor of history and the humanities at New York University. A renowned historian of American culture, he is the author and editor of more than a dozen books. He lives in New York City.
Americans are accustomed to telling their country's story as if the nation were naturally autonomous and self-sufficient. Thomas Bender asks us to rethink this presumed exceptionalism and proposes an alternative to the conventional national narrative. Placing American history firmly in a global context, he recasts the historical developments that were central to the making of the nation and shows why they can be fully understood only in light of America's global entanglement over five centuries.
 
Bender's exciting argument focuses on five major events or themes. He begins with "the age of discovery," when people everywhere were first feeling the transforming effects of oceanic trade and communication. He then reconsiders our founding Revolution as one of several similar rebellions occurring on many continents, and the Civil War as part of a larger history that associated freedom with a new meaning of nationhood. He also examines the American commitment to empire, from Jefferson's presidency to our own time; and last, in analyzing America's response to the challenges posed by capitalist industrialization and urbanization, he shows its participation in the worldwide conversation addressing these issues, and how American liberalism took its place in the larger global pattern of responses.
 
A Nation Among Nations makes clear what damage is done to our self-understanding and to our relations with the world when we fail to consider the full dimensions of American history. Bender boldly challenges us to think beyond our borders.
"In A Nation Among Nations: America's Place in World History, New York University Professor Thomas Bender sets out to break our dependency on this comforting paradigm by challenging us to reimagine the development of the United States as but 'one history among histories' and to relocate our national history within 'an interdependent world' . . . [This book is] a sophisticated polemic combining intellectual precision with moral passion, written for a general audience in lively prose that is neither condescending nor arcane. Bender does not pretend to write an exhaustive history of the United States but rather whets our appetite with tastes of his global and spatial revisionism . . . If you are tired of learning about this country's past through a prism of nationalist myopia and relish a good argument, this is the book for you . . . You will never  again think about 'American history' in the same provincial way."Tony Platt, San Francisco Chronicle
"In A Nation Among Nations: America's Place in World History, New York University Professor Thomas Bender . . . challeng[es] us to reimagine the development of the United States as but 'one history among histories' and to relocate our national history within 'an interdependent world.' Bender tackles the chauvinistic assumption that the nation is 'the natural container and carrier of history' and the linear view that history is primarily a chronological development. The author is a member of a group of scholars calling for a way out of the 'self-enclosed' and time-based perspective that has long characterized the teaching of U.S. history, especially in the wake of the Cold War. He calls for incorporating American history inside global history . . . Most American history courses touch upon world history only insofar as it impinges on the United States, such as the U.S.-Mexican War; and the teaching of world history typically is framed as events happening somewhere else, to people unlike us. As for geography, it gets relegated to identifying the shapes of the 13 colonies, naming state capitals and other make-work exercises in social studies. This book has its roots in a joint project of the Organization of  American Historians and New York University's International Center for Advanced Studies, begun a decade ago to increase cooperation between historians around the world . . . Now we have A Nation Among Nations, a sophisticated polemic combining intellectual precision with moral passion, written for a general audience in lively prose that is neither condescending nor arcane. Bender does not pretend to write an exhaustive history of the United States but rather whets our appetite with tastes of his global and spatial revisionism. We are asked to consider, for example, that the real discovery of 1492 was of 'the ocean, which entered history, creating a new world' and that the story of North America is 'part of that larger, more important history, not vice versa' . . . While A Nation Among Nations is analytically nuanced, Bender does not shy away from controversy or taking principled stands. 'Slavery is central to American history,' he asserts; the American celebration of freedom is largely a ruse for 'economic and cultural domination of the planet'; and since World War II, the United States has been 'the most powerful and consistent counterrevolutionary force in the world.' Bender's paradigm shift has political as well as intellectual ramifications. With 'civic purpose' in mind, he urges us to embrace 'the cosmopolitan citizenship that being in the world invites and demands.' As long as we teach our children to think of this country in triumphal and exceptional terms, the easier it is for the Bush administration to package imperial ambitions as the 'advance of freedom.' Underneath the flimflam of political demagoguery lies a deeply grounded jingoism that envisions the United States as the vanguard of civilization. It is not surprising, writes Bender, that the quest for empire generates 'a massive, consistent failure of empathy' on the home front . . .  If you are tired of learning about this country's past through a prism of nationalist myopia and relish a good argument, this is the book for you . . . You will never again think about 'American history' in the same provincial way."Tony Platt, San Francisco Chronicle
 
"Thomas Bender's book is a welcome historical narrative of that portion of the world's surface usually designated as the United States, but told here with reference to contemporary developments among global states,

Synopsis:

Asking readers to rethink America's history as being autonomous and self-sufficient, Bender proposes that America has grappled with circumstances, doctrines, new developments, and events that other nations, too, have faced, and that today's Americans can only benefit from recognizing this.

Synopsis:

"An original, ambitious, and consistently provocative book that should change the way we study and teach American history." --Eric Foner, Columbia University
 
In this major book, Thomas Bender recasts the developments central to American history by setting them in a global context, and showing both the importance and ordinariness of America's international entanglements over five centuries.

Bender focuses on five major themes, beginning with 1492 and "the age of discovery," when people everywhere first felt the transforming effects of oceanic trade. He asks us to see our Revolution as one of several similar rebellions around the globe, and the Civil War as part of a larger history associating the new meaning of nationhood with freedom. He also examines the American commitment to empire from Jefferson's presidency to our own time, and makes it clear that America's responses to capitalist industrialization and urbanization were part of a worldwide conversation.

About the Author

Thomas Bender, professor of history and the humanities at New York University, is the author and editor of more than a dozen books. He lives in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780809072354
Author:
Bender, Thomas
Publisher:
Hill & Wang
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
History
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
United States History.
Subject:
United States History Philosophy.
Subject:
US History-General
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20061231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes Notes and an Index
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » US History » General

A Nation Among Nations: America's Place in World History New Trade Paper
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$20.25 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Hill & Wang - English 9780809072354 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Asking readers to rethink America's history as being autonomous and self-sufficient, Bender proposes that America has grappled with circumstances, doctrines, new developments, and events that other nations, too, have faced, and that today's Americans can only benefit from recognizing this.
"Synopsis" by ,
"An original, ambitious, and consistently provocative book that should change the way we study and teach American history." --Eric Foner, Columbia University
 
In this major book, Thomas Bender recasts the developments central to American history by setting them in a global context, and showing both the importance and ordinariness of America's international entanglements over five centuries.

Bender focuses on five major themes, beginning with 1492 and "the age of discovery," when people everywhere first felt the transforming effects of oceanic trade. He asks us to see our Revolution as one of several similar rebellions around the globe, and the Civil War as part of a larger history associating the new meaning of nationhood with freedom. He also examines the American commitment to empire from Jefferson's presidency to our own time, and makes it clear that America's responses to capitalist industrialization and urbanization were part of a worldwide conversation.

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