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American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville
 
 
Author
Bernard-Henri Levy.
Publisher Random House  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5.2 x 0.75 inches
ISBN 9780812974713
Pages/Publication Date 308/2007
Daedalus Item Code 31261
List Price: $14.95
Sale Price: $3.98
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What does it mean to be an American, and what can America be today? Exploring these questions, French philosopher and journalist Bernard-Henri Lévy (author of Who Killed Daniel Pearl?) spent a year traveling the country, and here offers a sequel of sorts to Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. Lévy investigates such issues as the nature of American patriotism, the coexistence of freedom and religion (including the religion of baseball), the prison system, and the health of our political institutions. Through interview-based portraits across the spectrum—from prison guards to clergymen, Norman Mailer to Barack Obama, Sharon Stone to Richard Holbrooke—Lévy weaves a tapestry of American voices.

"Lévy's journey through this 'magnificent, mad country' is indeed vertiginous as he loops from coast to coast and back, mounting to the heights of wealth and power—interviewing the likes of Barry Diller and John Kerry—and plunging into the depths of poverty and powerlessness, in urban ghettoes and prisons. (In this last, he truly follows Tocqueville, whose assignment in the young America was to visit prisons.) Each scene is quite short ... but soon the quick succession of images creates a jostling, animated portrait of America, full of resonances and contradictions. Sharon Stone in her luxurious home, railing about the misery of the poor, is quickly followed by Lévy's chat with a waitress in a Colorado town struggling to make ends meet. A gated retirement community in Arizona seems to the author like a prison, while Angola, a prison in Louisiana, has lush grounds that resemble a retirement community's. Lévy, the celebrated French thinker and journalist, is a master of the vignette and the miniature, whether explaining why he could feel at home in Seattle or pondering whether Diller's apparent amorality is 'too flaunted to be completely sincere.' In France, where anti-Americanism has been so popular, Lévy has been an anti-anti-Americanist, and while he finds serious fissures in this country's social landscape, in the end he is an optimist about the future of a country he admires for the richness of its culture and its political vision."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 
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Princeton Readings in American Politics
Richard M. Valelly, ed.
Studio: Princeton.   Format: paperback. ISBN: 9780691124728.  Daedalus Item Code: 31825
List Price: $46.95 Sale Price: $7.98 You Save: $38.97
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Jonathan Haidt.
Studio: Vintage.   Format: paperback. ISBN: 9780307455772.  Daedalus Item Code: 49102
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