- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press (May 27, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300176562
- ISBN-13: 978-0300176568
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,318,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century Hardcover – May 27, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
In this essay collection, Smith (Somebody Else's Century) examines the dissonance between our nation's history and mythical conception of itself, combing what is termed the American Century for evidence. Expressly hoping to provoke the end of exceptionalism, he adduces America's fondness for ritual reenactments to demonstrate the shortcomings of event-specific historicism in light of big-picture history. In a clear and vivid voice, he draws attention to the effusive literary style of many early historical records and shows how science, not just religion, was swept into the perpetuation of certain myths. While he cogently outlines the importance of seeing society as a construct connected to its past, he loses ground when he leaps into the realm of political philosophy. His assertion that fundamentalist beliefs regarding markets, individuality, and government go largely uncontested is difficult to substantiate. Peering through the lens of myth-worship vs. historicism, Smith maligns certain abstract political notions because they have historically coincided with a Christian vision for the country and a reverence for the rugged American prototype; insufficiently acknowledged is that willingness to face the nation's history openly does not automatically discount certain abstract ideas. A thought-provoking collection, its conclusions step beyond what is substantiated by the material. (June)
“An exceptionally insightful approach that gets well beyond the usual yes/no declinist discourse, and challenges the American exceptionalism frame, in ways that are both historically informed and geared to the challenges of this new century and the need for ‘a new idea of ourselves.’”—Bruce W. Jentleson, Duke University
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"This was America at the Cold War's end. It had spent fifty years staring at its own reflection, unable to see anything or anybody else."
I prefer his articles analyzing current events. There, he makes his points concisely and clearly. Smith fails to do so here.