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Dreaming Up America
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Dreaming Up America

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  107 ratings  ·  16 reviews
With America ever under global scrutiny, Russell Banks contemplates the questions of our origins, values, heroes, conflicts, and contradictions. He writes with conversational ease and emotional insight, drawing on contemporary politics, literature, film, and his knowledge of American history.
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Seven Stories Press (first published 2008)
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Lynn
I've read a few Banks novels and enjoyed them, but who knew he had such amazing and broad understanding of the American pschye through history? He touches on the origins of the nation, immigrants, nationalism, economic issues, wars, and so much more. In many places, he uses examples from classic film and literature to reflect on American attitudes and ideals.

Adapted from interviews for a French film on American history, the text flows easily and reads quickly. The text is not diminished by its...more
Megan
This book is basically a transcription of interviews Russell Banks did for a French documentary. It reads as such and I was a little disappointed by that. I wanted to see many of the ideas fleshed out and better explained and supported. It was like reading the beginning of many interesting thoughts. I found the last chapter the most compelling, when he explores further the idea of American nationalism and how it is a dangerous philosophy. A fascinating subject that I would have loved to hear mor...more
Dm
Concise & Accurate Perceptions of America

Banks, who through much of his great American fiction (Cloudsplitter, Rule of the Bone, even Affliction), wrestles with the angels of the American soul, provides invaluable insight into who we & where we are while giving glimpses into his art as well. The only problem is I wanted more.
Clifford
Oct 13, 2008 Clifford rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Democrats
This is an odd little book that is something of an oral history of the United States told from a leftist's perspective, which is fine if, like me, you're a leftist. I knew of Banks's views when I bought the book, so it's orientation was no surprise. And I enjoyed it very much, agreeing with it virtually every step of the way. Whether it really should be a book that someone charges $21.95 for is another question, though. I think it would have made a fantastic magazine article in, say, The Nation.
William
The musings of Russell Banks. Very insightful. He considers where America came from - those who were looking for political or religious freedom and those who were looking for riches. He goes on to show where that has led them. How it manifested itself in the Declaration of Independence and the constitution and how the American Dream has led to conflicting ideas of isolationism and imperialism.
Very thought-provoking
Marian
Russell Banks should be embarrassed. This was so general and on such a low level, I can't imagine listening to it even as a film commentary, which is what it originally was. I've categorized it under "read" not because I've read it but because I've given up.
Stephanie
This is basically a book where the author kind of rambles on, which normally I wouldn't care for, but Banks is so eloquent and his insights really held my interest. He didn't use $100 words and his sentences weren't run-ons. It was very pleasant to read.
Andrea
"We (the U.S.) would do well to recognize that we haven't yet finished making ourselves, and that we can still take mindful control of that process." Russell Banks. Excellent read!
Steve
Not a bad, quick 110 page or so read. This is actually just a transcription from an interview he did about movies.
Edward Sullivan
A perceptive, provocative take on U.S. history and national identity by a non-historian.
Shelly
reading a lot of books about american identity. there are some great quotes in here....
Tlnorz
This was an interesting book of Russell Banks's view of American history.
Don
No biggie, but a nice, quick little "3rd of July" read.
Gina
Amazing and brave.
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Russell Banks is a member of the International Parliament of Writers and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous international prizes and awards. He has written fiction, and more recently, non-fiction, with Dreaming up America. His main works include the novels Continental Drift, Rule of the Bone, Cloudsplit...more
More about Russell Banks...
Rule of the Bone The Sweet Hereafter Lost Memory of Skin Cloudsplitter Affliction

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