The American Dream
A Short History of an Idea That Shaped a Nation
By (author) Jim Cullen
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American Dream by Jim Cullen
Book Description"The American Dream" is one of the most familiar and resonant phrases in our national lexicon, so familiar that we seldom pause to ask its origin, its history, or what it actually means. In this fascinating short history, Jim Cullen explores the meaning of the American Dream, or rather the several American Dreams that have both reflected and shaped American identity from the Pilgrims to the present. Cullen begins by noting that the United States, unlike most other nations, defines itself not on the facts of blood, religion, language, geography, or shared history, but on a set of ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence and consolidated in the Constitution. At the core of these ideals lies the ambiguous but galvanizing concept of the American Dream, a concept that for better and worse has proven to be amazingly elastic and durable for hundreds of years and across racial, class, and other demographic lines. Cullen then traces a series of overlapping American dreams: the quest for of religious freedom that brought the Pilgrims to the "New World"; the political freedom promised in the Declaration; the dream of upward mobility, embodied most fully in the figure of Abraham Lincoln; the dream of home ownership, from homestead to suburb; the intensely idealistic-and largely unrealized-dream of equality articulated most vividly by Martin Luther King, Jr. The version of the American Dream that dominates our own time-what Cullen calls "the Dream of the Coast"-is one of personal fulfillment, of fame and fortune all the more alluring if achieved without obvious effort, which finds its most insidious expression in the culture of Hollywood. For anyone seeking to understand a shifting but central idea in American history, The American Dream is an interpretive tour de force.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780195173253
(203mm x 136mm x 12mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 13-May-2004
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Jim Cullen
Essaying the Past, Paperback (December 2016)
Part research manual, part study guide, and part introduction to the study of history, Essaying the Past guides the reader through the nuts and bolts of producing good historical prose, offering key strategies and useful tips.
Democratic Empire, Paperback (May 2016)
A brief survey of U.S. history since the end of World War II, focusing on popular beliefs, fears, and hopes that have shaped American culture and history over the last eight decades.
Short History of the Modern Media, Paperback (October 2013)
A Short History of the Modern Media is a concise history of the major media of the last 150 years, including print, stage, film, radio, television, sound recording, and the Internet. Each chapter includes focus boxes to help students explore the ways specific genres and specific works have impacted the media and popular culture.
Popular Culture in American History, Paperback (March 2013)» View all books by Jim Cullen
The second edition of Popular Culture in American History updates the text for a contemporary readership and explores academic developments in this area of study over the last decade. Its compact, classroom-friendly format makes it an ideal text for courses in media studies, popular culture, or American history.
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Author Biography - Jim Cullen
Jim Cullen holds a Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown University and teaches at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, in New York City. He is the author of Born in the U.S.A.: Bruce Springsteen and the American Tradition and The Civil War in Popular Culture: A Reusable Past, among other books.
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