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Existential America Paperback – March 25, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the great pleasures of reading George Cotkin's brilliant study Existential America is that it explains why existentialism has proved so deeply appealing and enduring in an American context."

(Nick Gillespie Reason)

"Lively and readable... A fine survey of existential 'notions' in America, from the 1600s to the 1970s, when various new forms of French thought became more fashionable. It is quite discerning in the way it separates the various strands of the actual movement known as existentialism and locates its antecedents in various early American authors."

(Jay Parini Guardian)

"Entertaining, insightful cultural history... Cotkin's welcome addition to this picture [of the history of existentialism] is to recognize, as too few ever have, America's participation in existentialism and special contribution to it."

(Carlin Romano Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Cotkin excels... in tracing the reception, in these optimistic, practical, can-do United States, of those European ideas and art forms that have mounted a challenge to our received world view."

(Joshua Glenn Washington Post Book World)

"An involving and cogent discussion... Cotkin's intellectual history will engage any American who remembers identifying with Camus's The Stranger as an adolescent, as well as offering students a compelling theory of American culture."

(Library Journal)

"In Existential America, intellectual historian George Cotkin proves existentialism's relevance by showing that it was never just a fad; existential sensibilities run deep in our history. Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Camus, who all toured the United States after the war, saw only the country's exterior, its consumerist boosterism. But would it be so surprising if the land of the free were also the land of the searching, the anxious, the alienated? This is, after all, the country of Herman Melville and Edward Hopper... Along the way [Cotkin] drops fascinating anecdotes about how existentialism touched everyone from FDR to MLK, from Whittaker Chambers to Betty Friedan... An engrossing, readable account of a major current in our cultural history."

(Richard Polt Village Voice)

"A useful reference volume for students of philosophy and American culture."

(Christopher Luna Rain Taxi)

"A timely and compelling account of America's engagement with, and involvement in, what might otherwise be seen as a quintessentially European conversation."

(John Fagg Cercles)

"No other book engages existentialism in America so broadly or seeks to make it so central to American intellectual life."

(Terry A. Cooney American Historical Review)

"Cotkin... makes the unusual argument that existentialism, despite its reputation as quintessentially French, was an equally American phenomenon... Cotkin does a good job showing how much the French thinkers' ideas resonated among prominent Americans."

(Andy Lamey National Post)

About the Author

George Cotkin is a professor of history at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. He is the author of Reluctant Modernism: American Thought and Culture, 1880–1900 and William James, Public Philosopher, the latter published by Johns Hopkins.


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Product details

  • Publisher : The Johns Hopkins University Press (March 25, 2005)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 380 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0801882001
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0801882005
  • Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6.38 x 0.86 x 9.75 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 7 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
7 global ratings
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4 star
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3 star 0% (0%) 0%
2 star 0% (0%) 0%
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Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2012
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Reviewed in the United States on September 17, 2008
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Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2003
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Mark A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Generally good, plenty of research which is well used and ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 20, 2016
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