Chapter 1 The American Land: Landscapes of Abundance, Wilderness, and Beauty
Chapter 2 The West and the South: Exceptional Regions and Regions of Exceptionalism
Chapter 3 Cities upon Hills: The Colonial Foundations of American Exceptionalism
Chapter 4 Sacred Fire of Liberty: The American Revolution and the Transformation of American Exceptionalism
Chapter 5 The American Way of Empire: Exceptionalism and U.S. Foreign Policy
Chapter 6 Promissory Notes: Exceptionalism and African American Self-Empowerment
Chapter 7 Perfectible Union: American Exceptionalism and Reform
Chapter 8 People of Plenty: American Exceptionalism and Affluence
Chapter 9 Crisis of Disorientation: Contested Exceptionalisms in Contemporary America
About the Author
This is a well-balanced, incisive account of what exceptionalism means to scholars, students, and general readers across the political spectrum. Depkat explores the concept’s origins and development and the reality that its meaning, which changes over time, depends on one’s political persuasion…. Depkat covers the span of American history, referencing both primary and secondary sources to create this forceful, insightful analysis of American exceptionalism, something that is more a dream for the future than simply an analysis of the past.Highly recommended. General readers through faculty; professionals.
Most Americans believe in the idea that their nation is not only different from other countries but that it occupies a unique place in the moral universe of world history. In this compelling and very readable book, Volker Depkat, one of the leading German historians of the United States, moves beyond the stale debates of the past and offers a concise account of how Americans – and Europeans – have imagined America as exceptional and how competing concepts of American Exceptionalism have shaped US history until today.
With this magisterial synthesis of a vast range of source materials in which competing versions of this notion have been made to serve different, at times mutually exclusive, social, geographic, political economic, and cultural agendas, Volker Depkat has accomplished what I once thought impossible: a comprehensive, systematic, yet utterly accessible conceptual history of American exceptionalism from its colonial and revolutionary beginnings to the present.
Volker Depkat's highly readable account of the conceptual workings and practices justified by exceptionalism expertly navigates centuries, shifting geographical boundaries, myriad types of sources and artistic works, as well as transnational and regional outlooks and experiences. Looping back and forth in time, thematically organized chapters drive home the fluidity of positive and negative exceptionalisms. This in‑depth study demonstrates why one person's new beginning was often another person's premature demise and why high‑flying hopes were frequently disappointed. American Exceptionalism, with its compact yet intricate chapters and its immensely useful bibliographical essay, is an asset for American Studies classes on competing conceptualizations of the US and for anyone interested in fathoming US history.
Those who join the author on a journey through several centuries of history of American exceptionalism are richly rewarded intellectually. Depkat discerningly points to the central texts. Since the American idea of exceptionalism will continue to exist in the future, we do well to know its developmental history.
3/23/23, Choice Reviews: This book was highlighted as a top community college titles.Link: https://www.choice360.org/choice-pick/the-top-75-community-college-titles-march-2023-edition/