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A Nation Among Nations

America's Place in World History

Thomas Bender

Hill and Wang

Americans are accustomed to telling their country's story as if the nation were naturally autonomous and self-sufficient. Thomas Bender asks us to rethink this presumed exceptionalism and proposes an alternative to the conventional national narrative. Placing American history firmly in a global context, he recasts the historical developments that were central to the making of the nation and shows why they can be fully understood only in light of America's global entanglement over five centuries.
 
Bender's exciting argument focuses on five major events or themes. He begins with "the age of discovery," when people everywhere were first feeling the transforming effects of oceanic trade and communication. He then reconsiders our founding Revolution as one of several similar rebellions occurring on many continents, and the Civil War as part of a larger history that associated freedom with a new meaning of nationhood. He also examines the American commitment to empire, from Jefferson's presidency to our own time; and last, in analyzing America's response to the challenges posed by capitalist industrialization and urbanization, he shows its participation in the worldwide conversation addressing these issues, and how American liberalism took its place in the larger global pattern of responses.
 
A Nation Among Nations makes clear what damage is done to our self-understanding and to our relations with the world when we fail to consider the full dimensions of American history. Bender boldly challenges us to think beyond our borders.

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A Nation Among Nations
1THE OCEAN WORLD AND THE BEGINNINGS OF AMERICAN HISTORY 
 
Until recently the basic narrative of American history began with a chapter on exploration and discovery. That formula has changed--but only slightly. With the belated acknowledgment that earlier migrants, the first American peoples, had already been living in the Western Hemisphere for thousands of years when Christopher Columbus arrived and when the Pilgrims established Plymouth Plantation, the theme of the typical first chapter has been changed to emphasize European "contact" with Americans or,
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REVIEWS

Praise for A Nation Among Nations

"A sophisticated polemic combining intellectual precision with moral passion, written for a general audience in lively prose that is neither condescending nor arcane. Bender does not pretend to write an exhaustive history of the United States but rather whets our appetite with tastes of his global and spatial revisionism." --Tony Platt, San Francisco Chronicle
 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Thomas Bender

  • Thomas Bender, professor of history and the humanities at New York University, is the author and editor of more than a dozen books. He lives in New York City.
  • Thomas Bender Copyright David Bender
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    A Nation Among Nations

    America's Place in World History

    Thomas Bender

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    Hill and Wang

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