What I Saw in America

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Anthem Press, Apr 1, 2008 - Travel - 257 pages
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Journalist, novelist, poet, artist and art critic, essayist, theologian, propagandist, philosopher, and creator of the wily old Father Brown – G. K Chesterton is one of the most beguiling authors of the early twentieth century. When asked to perform a lecture tour in 1921, Chesterton was in a slump of depression. He had recently lost his brother to the First World War and his wavering faith in the face of the horrors of the conflict only intensified his malaise. What I Saw in America tells us as much about the author and his particular views as it does about his destination. Indeed, Chesterton’s personalised observations – his aversion to imperialism, capitalism, Anglo-Americanism and his commitment to democracy and fraternity – are distinguished by the piercing wit for which he is famed.

Many of Chesterton’s reflections are timeless and startlingly prescient. He was highly critical of both the nave immigration policies and the grinding dehumanisation brought about by the growth of the economy. Nonetheless, he was enthralled by the glorious ideals of the nation – founded on principles of equality, democracy and freedom – even if the essence of these ideals had been lost somewhere along the way. What I Saw in America ranks among the finest of Chesterton’s works, containing all of the author’s virtues and vices: his wry humour, sympathy and intelligence playing devilishly against an irrepressible mischievousness.

 

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Contents

What is America 7
7
A Meditation in a New York Hotel
17
A Meditation in Broadway
29
Irish and other Interviewers
41
Some American Cities
55
In the American Country
69
The American Business Man
83
Presidents and Problems
103
The Extraordinary American
153
The Republican in the Ruins
163
Is the Atlantic Narrowing 7
175
Lincoln and Lost Causes
187
Wells and the World State
197
A New Martin Chuzzlewit
211
The Spirit of America
223
The Spirit of England
235

Prohibition in Fact and Fancy
123
Pads and Public Opinion
137
The Future of Democracy
247
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About the author (2008)

G.K. Chesterton (1874–1936) author of over 80 books, several hundred poems, 200 short stories and 4000 essays. Simon Newman is Professor in the Department of History at the University of Glasgow. His research interests focus on the social and political history of early America.

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