Skip to main content
Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The End of the Myth

The End of the Myth

From the Frontier to the Wall in the Mind of America

Greg Grandin

Metropolitan Books

BUY THE BOOK

From a Pulitzer Prize finalist, an eye-opening account of what the call for a border wall reveals about America’s new sense of itself.

From this nation’s very inception, the idea of an open and ever-expanding frontier has been the central metaphor of American identity, a symbol of a future of endless promise, and the foundation of America’s belief in itself as an exceptional nation—democratic, individualistic, forward-looking. Today, though, America has a new metaphor: the border wall.

In this original revision of Frederick Jackson’s influential 1893 essay “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” Greg Grandin explores a remarkable reversal in the country’s sense of itself. Whereas America’s constant expansion in the twentieth century, fighting wars and opening markets, served as what Turner called a “gate of escape,” helping to deflect domestic economic and political conflicts outward, the combined catastrophe of our never-ending war in the Middle East and the financial meltdown slammed this gate shut, bringing political passions that had long been directed outward back home. It is in this inward turn that Grandin finds the sources of the conservative populism and racist nationalism, the extreme anger and polarization directed simultaneously at elites and foreigners that in 2016 catapulted Donald Trump to the presidency.

The border wall may or may not be built, but it will survive as a rallying point, an allegorical tombstone marking the end of American Excep… More…

From a Pulitzer Prize finalist, an eye-opening account of what the call for a border wall reveals about America’s new sense of itself.

From this nation’s very inception, the idea of an open and ever-expanding frontier has been the central metaphor of American identity, a symbol of a future of endless promise, and the foundation of America’s belief in itself as an exceptional nation—democratic, individualistic, forward-looking. Today, though, America has a new metaphor: the border wall.

In this original revision of Frederick Jackson’s influential 1893 essay “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” Greg Grandin explores a remarkable reversal in the country’s sense of itself. Whereas America’s constant expansion in the twentieth century, fighting wars and opening markets, served as what Turner called a “gate of escape,” helping to deflect domestic economic and political conflicts outward, the combined catastrophe of our never-ending war in the Middle East and the financial meltdown slammed this gate shut, bringing political passions that had long been directed outward back home. It is in this inward turn that Grandin finds the sources of the conservative populism and racist nationalism, the extreme anger and polarization directed simultaneously at elites and foreigners that in 2016 catapulted Donald Trump to the presidency.

The border wall may or may not be built, but it will survive as a rallying point, an allegorical tombstone marking the end of American Exceptionalism.

Less…

Greg Grandin

Greg Grandin is the author of Fordlandia, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. A Professor of History at New York University, Grandin has published a number of other widely-acclaimed books, including Empire's Workshop, Kissinger's Shadow, and The Empire of Necessity, which won the Bancroft Prize.

image of Greg Grandino
David Barreda

LibraryThing

Metropolitan Books

Latest on Facebook

LATEST ON TWITTER