The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1998 - Political Science - 208 pages
2 Reviews
Setting the American experience against a global backdrop in which one nation after another is tearing itself apart, Schlesinger emphasizes the question: What is it that holds nations together? The classic American image was of the "melting pot, " in which differences of race, religion, and nationality were reduced, however unevenly, by common adherence to unifying civic principles. Today that image is challenged by an identity politics that magnifies differences and abandons goals of integration and assimilation. Must we surrender national identity to ethnic lobbies? Is hypersensitivity on the question of language handicapping minority children? Is the purpose of teaching history to make minorities feel good about themselves? Or is it rather to teach an accurate understanding of the world and to protect unifying ideals of tolerance, democracy, and human rights? Strident multiculturalism, Schlesinger contends, is an ill-judged and wrong-headed response to the real problem: the persistence, despite many gains, of racism in the white majority. In a world scarred by ethnic conflict, he writes, it is all the more urgent that the United States set an example of how a highly differentiated society holds itself together. In this new and enlarged edition, more timely than ever, Schlesinger updates the discussion, assesses recent developments, points to factors that promise to defeat the disuniting of America, points also to the dangers of strident monoculturalism on the right, and adds "Schlesinger's syllabus" - an annotated list of a baker's dozen of book essential for understanding the American experience.
  

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Review: The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society

User Review  - Daniela - Goodreads

This book was really interesting. It was not what I expected- I was surprised by the fact that it was not exactly what one would consider politically correct. As I was reading it, I came to find that ... Read full review

Review: The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society

User Review  - Jimmy - Goodreads

This book is a little gem; a must read for anyone interested in one of the major (if not the main) problems presently facing the United States. Let me say this: if you're a liberal then you'll ... Read full review

Contents

A New Race?
29
History the Weapon
51
The Battle of the Schools
79
The Decomposition of America
105
E Pluribus Unum?
125
EPILOGUE
149
SCHLESINGERS SYLLABUS
167
NOTES ON SOURCES
181
INDEX
199
Copyright

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Page 13 - Free institutions,” he wrote, “are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities. Among a people without fellow feeling, especially if they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist.

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About the author (1998)

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. is renowned as a historian, a public intellectual, & a political activist. He served as a special assistant to President John F. Kennedy; won two Pulitzer Prizes, in 1946 for "The Age of Jackson" & in 1966 for "A Thousand Days," & in 1998 was the recipient of the National Humanities Medal. He lives in New York City.

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