OVERRIDE

A Nation Among Nations

America's Place in World History

Thomas Bender

Hill and Wang

A provocative new book that shows us why we must put American history firmly in a global context--from 1492 to today Americans like to tell their country’s story as if the United States were naturally autonomous and self-sufficient, with characters, ideas, and situations unique to itself. Thomas Bender asks us to rethink this “exceptionalism” and to reconsider the conventional narrative. He proposes that America has grappled with circumstances, doctrines, new developments, and events that other nations, too, have faced, and that we can only benefit from recognizing this.

Bender’s exciting argument begins with the discovery of the Americas at a time when peoples everywhere first felt the transforming effects of oceanic travel and trade. He then reconsiders our founding Revolution, occurring in an age of rebellion on many continents; the Civil War, happening when many countries were redefining their core beliefs about the nature of freedom and the meaning of nationhood; and the later imperialism that pitted the United States against Germany, Spain, France, and England. Industrialism and urbanization, laissez-faire economics, capitalism and socialism, and new technologies are other factors that Bender views in the light of global developments.

A Nation Among Nations is a passionate, persuasive book that makes clear what damage is done when we let the old view of America alone in the world falsify our history. Bender boldly challenges us to think beyond our borders.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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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
 
"Original, ambitious, and consistently provocative, A Nation Among Nations should change the way we study and teach American history. If ever we needed an approach to our past that emphasizes how it is embedded in global history, now is the time."                                                                            --Eric Foner, Columbia University

"Writing with verve and eloquence, Thomas Bender challenges much that we thought we knew in this profoundly disconcerting meditation on American history. His fresh, invigorating interpretations will make your old college textbooks feel obsolete, and he offers a new angle of vision on the ways the twenty-first-century world was shaped. I could not put this book down."             --Linda K. Kerber, University of Iowa

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Thomas Bender

  • Thomas Bender is professor of history and the humanities at New York University. A renowned historian of American culture, he 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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