A Nation Forged by Crisis: A New American History (Hardback)Jay Sexton (author)
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Americans have long understood their history as a story of inevitable progress, of a steadily rising standard of living and of the gradual extension of rights and freedoms to previously disenfranchised groups. Thus recent developments-9/11, the 2008 financial crash, the election of Donald Trump-have arrived as great shocks, each seemingly a wrench in the gears of history. How are we to understand our nation's past from the perspective of our volatile present?
With A Nation Forged by Crisis, Jay Sexton has written a concise history of America for our time. He contends that from the start our national narrative has been punctuated by underappreciated moments of disruption, and that the roots of these disruptions can be traced to shifts in the international system. Sexton shows that the Revolution was not the inevitable result of American exceptionalism, but a consequence of Atlantic integration. By the 1760s, immigration to the colonies had spiked, and among the new arrivals were people like Thomas Paine who brought radical ideas to the continent. While Sexton does not dispute that the Civil War was caused by slavery, he argues that a necessary precondition for the conflict was the absence, for the first time in decades, of foreign threats. Both North and South were emboldened-with horrific results. In a similar way, it is impossible to understand the emergence of the New Deal without examining the role of "white ethnics"-first and second generation Germans, Poles, and Irish-in transforming and overseeing the mid-century Democratic Party. Sexton closes by pointing out that if recent developments are any indication, the politics of the future appear set to look less like those of the twentieth century than those of the nineteenth century, which was dominated by questions of labor and race, markets and tariffs, immigration and citizenship, international rivalry and geopolitical instability.
A razor-sharp and necessary revision of American history, A Nation Forged by Crisis forces us to reckon with the reality that the United States has been and will always be entwined with the world beyond its borders
Publisher: INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 447 g
Dimensions: 238 x 160 x 28 mm
"The learned and wise Professor Sexton invokes three crises of America's present--national security, globalized capitalism, and exploding immigration--to reinterpret America's past in illuminating, lucid, and--yes--exciting analyses."--Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848
"With U.S. constitutional democracy on alarmingly high alert, eminent scholar and prizewinning teacher Jay Sexton reminds us that the nation has been forged by crises. Though turbulent times have yielded extraordinary opportunities for change, outcomes have neither been certain nor up to Americans alone to decide. This is an essential read for anyone inclined to believe that the United States has determined its own destiny."--Kristin Hoganson, author of Consumers' Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity
"Bold in conception and rich in ideas, A Nation Forged by Crisis delivers a scintillating new reading of United States history. Jay Sexton places pivotal episodes in the American past within a broad framework of periodic disruptions brought about by international economic and strategic shifts. He triumphantly vindicates the interpretive possibilities of entangled global history, confirms his reputation as one of the most accomplished historians of his generation--and offers a lesson on the dangers that follow the nation's prioritising inward-looking objectives over international ones."--Richard Carwardine, author of Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power
"A Nation Forged by Crisis is a superb history of America-in-the-world. Building on the best new work on the crises that have shaped the unpredictable course of American history, Jay Sexton's provocative synthesis offers fresh perspectives on our own troubled times."--Peter Onuf, coauthor, with Annette Gordon-Reed, of Most Blessed of the Patriarchs
"Only a scholar of Jay Sexton's caliber could write a book that ranges so widely, offers so many keen insights, and is such a pleasure to read--even as it is a sober warning that Americans must remember our connections to the world outside our borders if we wish to navigate the crises that we confront."--Eric Rauchway, author of The Money Makers and Winter War