By Bernard-Henri Levy
What does it suggest to be an American, and what can the United States be at the present time? to respond to those questions, celebrated thinker and journalist Bernard-Henri L?vy spent a yr touring during the kingdom within the footsteps of one other nice Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, whose Democracy in the USA is still the main influential ebook ever written approximately our state. the result's American Vertigo, a desirable, completely clean examine a rustic we occasionally in simple terms imagine we all know. From Rikers Island to Chicago mega-churches, from Muslim groups in Detroit to an Amish enclave in Iowa, L?vy investigates concerns on the middle of our democracy: the specific nature of yank patriotism, the coexistence of freedom and faith (including the faith of baseball), the legal process, the “return of ideology” and the wellbeing and fitness of our political associations, and masses extra. He revisits and updates Tocqueville’s most vital ideals, similar to the risks posed by way of “the tyranny of the majority,” explores what Europe and the USA need to study from one another, and translates what he sees with a novelist’s eye and a philosopher’s intensity. via robust interview-based pics around the spectrum of the yankee humans, from criminal guards to priests, from Norman Mailer to Barack Obama, from Sharon Stone to Richard Holbrooke, L?vy fills his booklet with a tapestry of yank voices–some clever, a few surprising. either the grandeur and the hellish dimensions of yankee lifestyles are unflinchingly explored. and massive topics emerge all through, from the the most important offerings the USA faces this present day to the underlying fact that, not like the “Old World,” the United States continues to be the success of the world’s wish to worship, earn, and stay as one wishes–a position, regardless of all, the place inclusion is still not only an amazing yet a precise practice.At a time while americans are nervous approximately how the realm perceives them and, certainly, prepared to make feel of themselves, a super and sympathetic international observer has arrived to assist us start a brand new dialog concerning the that means of America.From the Hardcover variation.
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Additional info for American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville
These yachts. These Palladian mansions and painted wooden houses that remind me of the beach towns of Normandy. A naval museum. An athenaeum library. Bedand-breakfasts with a picture of the owner displayed instead of a sign. Gorgeous trees. Tennis courts. A Georgian-style synagogue, exhibited as the oldest in the United States: with its wellpolished pale wood, its fluted columns, its spotless black rattan chairs, its large candelabra, its plaque engraved with clear-cut letters in memory of Isaac Touro and the six or seven great spiritual leaders who succeeded him, its American flag standing next to the Torah scroll under glass; it seems to me, on the contrary, strangely modern.
Defeat of the archive. Triumph of kitsch. And then here's another case, even more extravagant. Far off, right in the middle of the reconstituted village, there is a tent where a crowd larger than the one in front of Dr. Jackson's office or the herbalist's garden is gathered. As we come near it, we see an empty zone beneath the tent surrounded by thick braided ropes, the kind used in museums. And in the middle a gypsum statue just over ten feet long, lying down, its ribs jutting out, one hand on its stomach, as if mummified.
T. Barnum, the great showman, tries to buy it and, furious at being refused, has a copy made, which he exhibits in New York City. During this time, the original false giant goes to the Pan-American Exhibition. It is bought in the early 1930s by a rich publisher from Iowa. Then, in 1939, by the New York State Historical Association. Finally, in 1948, it's transported to Cooperstown, where it has been on display ever since, after its truly national funeral. So today people come from all over the United States to admire the biggest, most famous, most official example of the fake.