Americana: Dispatches From the New Frontier by Hampton Sides

By Hampton Sides

Harley-Davidson bikers . . . Grand Canyon river rats. . .Mormon archaeologists. . . Spelling bee prodigies…

For greater than fifteen years, best-selling writer and historian Hampton aspects has traveled generally around the continent exploring the the USA that lurks simply at the back of the scrim of our mainstream tradition. Reporting for outdoor, the recent Yorker, and NPR, between different nationwide media, the award-winning journalist has proven a name not just as a wry observer of the modern American scene but additionally as one in every of our extra artistic and flexible practitioners of narrative non-fiction.

In those dozen items, amassed the following for the 1st time, aspects provides us a clean, captivating, and every now and then startling the USA brimming with attention-grabbing subcultures and weird characters who might dwell nowhere else. Following aspects, we crash the redwood retreat of an obvious cabal of fabulously robust military-industrialists, drop in at the Indy 500 of bass fishing, and sign up for an enormous techno-rave on the lip of the Grand Canyon. We meet a various gallery of yank visionaries— from the impossibly perky founding father of Tupperware to Indian radical Russell capability to skateboarding legend Tony Hawk. We retrace the course of the historical Bataan dying March with veterans from Sides’ acclaimed WWII epic, Ghost squaddies. aspects additionally examines the country that has emerged from the ashes of September eleven, recounting the harrowing trips of 3 global exchange middle survivors and determining on the final attainable minute to not "embed" at the Iraqi front-lines with the U.S. Marines. Americana supplies us a glowing mosaic of our state this present day, in all its wild and poignant charm.

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Extra info for Americana: Dispatches From the New Frontier

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In sum, this knowledge would entail an originary vision: as Martí will argue in ‘‘Nuestra América’’ (), this vision would be the only one capable of representing and understanding the ‘‘primeval’’ American world threatened by the effects and contradictions brought about by modernity (see chapter ). It would be hasty, however, to idealize any claim of literature’s marginality with respect to the state-motivated discourses of modernity and progress. Although the new literary concept served to criticize these latter discourses, it also implied the struggle to reclaim social legitimacy.

In this respect, Martí himself becomes a figure of an entirely modern heroism, insofar as through a heroic will he attempts to overcome a series of contradictions that the letrados of the preceding generations did not have to confront. Martí is a modern hero precisely because his effort to synthesize roles and functions of different discourses presupposes various antitheses generated by the division of labor, on the one hand, and (on the other) the fragmentation of what had been a relatively integrated vital sphere, where the writing of the letrados held a public validity and a set of paradigmatic discursive functions.

If identity, for us, is never external to the discourse that names it— and if conversely, the form, authority, and institutional weight of the subject all determine the cut and selection of materials that will compose and represent this very identity—then perhaps we can say today, in recalling Martí, that there can be no Latin America as long as there is no discourse authorized to name it. Literature would be charged with the enormous and, at times, unbearable weight of this representativity. One signature—it is the law of the genre—but the conditions of possibility are always collective.

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