Matthew Arnold begins his 1888 Civilization in the United States with a lengthy discourse on Ulysses S. Grant. Acknowledging that Grant, while wildly popular in the U.S., had received little attention in England--often over-shadowed by the more popular Robert E. Lee in commentary on the American Civil War--Arnold found Grant to be a rare man of virtue, a man able to ""confront and resist popular clamor."" Arnold then goes on to provide ""A Word About America"" in which he confirms his belief that Americans are ""English people on the other side of the Atlantic."" While understanding and foreshadowing the influence America will have in international relations, Arnold criticizes America for its sense of self-importance. He believes that Americans believe themselves to be better educated, more intellectual, and clearer thinking than other nations and that this belief will make the U.S. weak. Arnold also finds there to be a much greater need for public, social criticism (""tall talk and self-gratification meets with hardly any rebuke from sane criticism"") and that America's inability to confront its own social issues will eventually undermine society. Arnold also provides a scathing critique of American newspapers. This thoughtful discussion of American culture and character reverberates with issues relevant to the modern world.
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(248mm x 146mm x 20mm)
Publisher: Applewood Books
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