American rule How a nation conquered the world but failed its people

Jared Yates Sexton

Book - 2020

"From writer and political analyst Jared Yates Sexton comes a journey through the history of the United States, from the nation's founding to the twenty-first century, which examines and debunks the American myths we've always told ourselves. In recent years, Americans have faced a deluge of horrifying developments in politics and culture: stolen elections, fascist rallies, families torn apart and locked away. A common refrain erupts at each new atrocity: This isn't who we ar...e. In American Rule, Jared Yates Sexton upends those convenient fictions by laying bare the foundational myths at the heart of our collective American imagination. From the very origins of this nation, Americans in power have abused and subjugated others; enabling that corruption are the many myths of American exceptionalism and steadfast values, which are fed to the public and repeated across generations. Working through each era of American growth and change, Sexton weaves together the origins and perpetuation of these narratives still in the public memory, and the acts we have chosen to forget. Stirring, deeply researched, and disturbingly familiar, American Rule is a call to examine our own misconceptions of what it means, and has always meant, to be an American"--

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

973/Sexton
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 973/Sexton Checked In
Subjects
Published
[New York, New York] : Dutton, An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC 2020.
Language
English
Physical Description
355 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 305-337) and index.
ISBN
9781524745714
1524745715
Main Author
Jared Yates Sexton (author)
  • A Revolution and a Coup
  • Of Gods and Men
  • A Nation Washed in Blood
  • The Rise of Empires
  • The God of Peace
  • The God of War
  • A Mindless Juggernaut
  • The Cult of the Shining City
  • The Age of Irrational Exuberance
  • The Kingdom of the Crooked Mirrors.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Sexton (The People Are Going To Rise Like The Waters Upon Your Shore, 2017) surveys the leaders and policies of American rule from the Founding Fathers to now, laying bare a collective, consistent, centuries-long gaslighting of the American people. The direct inversion between espoused American ideals—freedom, self-determination, and democracy—against American reality—enslavement, genocide, and brutal colonizing—did not exist only at the country's founding but has continued straight through the present. The U.S. has claimed an identity as the world's moral leader, which its actions negated. Sexton's work is a well-informed fly-over. His research offers a big-picture view of leadership, regardless of political affiliation, that repeats and re-repeats patterns of creating and protecting wealth for the American elite at any cost. Greed is not novel, but American rule's ability to convince its populace that their country enacted greed's opposite is extraordinary. Sexton's writing is to be praised for its lack of equivocation. He calls the immoral immoral, the unethical unethical. The reading is uncomfortable yet necessary. Sexton's well-executed project of looking at American history with radical candor is meant to make us more patriotic, not less; only with clear eyes do we have a chance of fulfilling America's promise. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Following up on his book about the 2016 presidential election (The People Are Going To Rise Like the Waters upon Your Shore), Sexton continues to serve as a historical myth buster, tackling the belief of America as a fair and just government of the people, and portraying instead a broken system built by and for white elites. This sweeping but selective look at American history is presented with the aim of explaining the historical events and movements that led to the election of President Donald Trump. Sexton is effective at drawing parallels between contemporary politics and historic events, looking, for example, at American fascist organizations in the 1930s as a forerunner of modern white supremacist movements, the establishment of World War I-era propaganda campaigns as a predecessor of misleading political advertising, and the rise and fall of Richard Nixon. VERDICT Readers looking for consolation and a plan for a more just and equitable future will not find it here. Recommended primarily for those concerned by the tone and direction of American politics and seeking a better understanding of the question on which the book is framed: "How did we get here?"—Nicholas Graham, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Sexton (The Man They Wanted Me to Be), a professor of creative writing at Georgia Southern University, exposes the myth of American exceptionalism in this searing account. He unravels how slavery enabled America's growth as a world power while creating fault lines in a country founded on the notion that all men are created equal. By stoking pride in America's frontier spirit and unique contributions to the world, Sexton contends, 18th- and 19th-century thinkers, politicians, and business leaders provided a rationale for the genocide of Native Americans and the enslavement of African Americans, and cemented the nation's racialized hierarchy, which took on new, more insidious forms after the Civil War and emancipation. WWI and WWII raised America's reputation around the globe, Sexton writes, even as the country was slowly being consumed from within by racial, economic, and political divisions that have found their fullest expression in President Trump's racist populism. Sexton's survey of American political history is taut and tart, but his prescriptions for recapturing the better angels of the American spirit and renewing faith in science and reason gloss over the heavy lifting involved. Still, this is an unflinching and well-crafted takedown of the nationalist rhetoric that fueled Trump's rise. (Sept.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The political analyst and author of The Man They Wanted Me to Be challenges common views about America’s positive history of human rights, identifying patterns in subjugation and leadership corruption that sharply contrast with its mainstream beliefs about liberty.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"From writer and political analyst Jared Yates Sexton comes a journey through the history of the United States, from the nation's founding to the twenty-first century, which examines and debunks the American myths we've always told ourselves. In recent years, Americans have faced a deluge of horrifying developments in politics and culture: stolen elections, fascist rallies, families torn apart and locked away. A common refrain erupts at each new atrocity: This isn't who we are. In American Rule, Jared Yates Sexton upends those convenient fictions by laying bare the foundational myths at the heart of our collective American imagination. From the very origins of this nation, Americans in power have abused and subjugated others; enabling that corruption arethe many myths of American exceptionalism and steadfast values, which are fed to the public and repeated across generations. Working through each era of American growth and change, Sexton weaves together the origins and perpetuation of these narratives still in the public memory, and the acts we have chosen to forget. Stirring, deeply researched, and disturbingly familiar, American Rule is a call to examine our own misconceptions of what it means, and has always meant, to be an American"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From writer and political analyst Jared Yates Sexton comes an eye-opening journey through American history that unearths and debunks the myths we've always told ourselves.  Recent years have brought a reckoning in America. As rampant political corruption, stark inequality, and violent bigotry have come to the fore, many have faced two vital questions: How did we get here? And how do we move forward? An honest look at the past—and how it’s been covered up—is the only way to find the answers. Americans in power have abused and subjugated others since the nation’s very beginning, and myths of America’s unique goodness have both enabled that injustice and buried the truth for generations. In American Rule, Jared Yates Sexton blends deep research with stunning storytelling, digging into each era of growth and change that led us here—and laying bare the foundational myths at the heart of the American imagination. Stirring, unequivocal, and impossible to put down, American Rule tells the truth about what this nation has always been—and challenges us to forge a new path.