The Seattle Review of Books, Seattle Weekly, and Third Place Books Seward Park continue our book club exploring who we are as Americans, where we're going, and how we might fix our greatest problems. Reading Through It meets on the first Wednesday of every month. Drink and food specials are available from Raconteur during book clubs, so grab a glass and join us for a lively literary discussion. Every month our selected titles are discounted 20% through the date of the book club. All are welcome, no purchase required.
Our August selection is This America by Jill Lepore.
With dangerous forms of nationalism on the rise, Lepore, a Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer, repudiates nationalism here by explaining its long history--and the history of the idea of the nation itself--while calling for a "new Americanism" a generous patriotism that requires an honest reckoning with America's past.
Lepore begins her argument with a primer on the origins of nations, explaining how liberalism, the nation-state, and liberal nationalism, developed together. Illiberal nationalism, however, emerged in the United States after the Civil War--resulting in the failure of Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, and the restriction of immigration. Much of American history, Lepore argues, has been a battle between these two forms of nationalism, liberal and illiberal, all the way down to the nation's latest, bitter struggles over immigration.
A manifesto for a better nation, and a call for a "new Americanism," This America reclaims the nation's future by reclaiming its past.