Behold, America by Sarah Churchwell
The Entangled History of America First and the American Dream

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At bottom then, Behold, America, like so much of the best historical enquiry, is rooted in an acute sensitivity to language.
-Guardian

Synopsis

The unknown history of two ideas crucial to the struggle over what America stands for
In Behold, America, Sarah Churchwell offers a surprising account of twentieth-century Americans' fierce battle for the nation's soul. It follows the stories of two phrases--the "American dream" and "America First"--that once embodied opposing visions for America.
Starting as a Republican motto before becoming a hugely influential isolationist slogan during World War I, America First was always closely linked with authoritarianism and white supremacy. The American dream, meanwhile, initially represented a broad vision of democratic and economic equality. Churchwell traces these notions through the 1920s boom, the Depression, and the rise of fascism at home and abroad, laying bare the persistent appeal of demagoguery in America and showing us how it was resisted. At a time when many ask what America's future holds, Behold, America is a revelatory, unvarnished portrait of where we have been.
 

About Sarah Churchwell

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Published October 9, 2018 by Basic Books. 336 pages
Genres: History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Behold, America
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Colin Kidd on Jul 14 2018

At bottom then, Behold, America, like so much of the best historical enquiry, is rooted in an acute sensitivity to language.

Read Full Review of Behold, America: The Entangle... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Robert McCrum on May 14 2018

Behold, America is an enthralling book, almost a primer for the ferocious dialectic of US politics, inspired by the events of 2015/16. It will no doubt take an influential place on a teeming shelf of Trump-lit.

Read Full Review of Behold, America: The Entangle... | See more reviews from Guardian
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