We can't leave this one alone -- it's a sizable volume and the lilt of the title made us want to know what Pulitzer prizewinner, Michael Kammen, intends to get at. So here's the gist as far as telling goes: a nation is nothing without the traditions that create it. These traditions form our history, acting both as foundation and living presence for contemporary society. But tradition is not a static or rigid formula. We simultaneously live within it, react against it and completely ignore it. Sometimes it is no more than an idea we elevate as we settle into a comfortable status quo. Michael Kammen charts this course of the American memory through a series of historic periods: prior to 1870, circa 1870-1915, 1915-1945 and 1945-1990. Here's a brilliant researcher willing to expose every ambiguity and amnesia he can find to sort the thing through. This kind of remembrance shows us a way to think about the past and reestablishes our existence in the realm of paradox, within the painful tensions necessary for transformation.
An Eighth Day View:
Assesses the role of collective memory, tradition, and patriotism in American national culture, and