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Country of Exiles

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  30 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
In Country of Exiles, William Leach, whose Land of Desire was a finalist for the National Book Award, explores the troubling effects of our national love affair with mobility.He shows us how the impulse to pull up stakes and find a new frontier has always battled with the need to put down roots, and how a new cosmopolitanism has seized our national identity.

Leach takes us
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 30th 2000 by Vintage (first published 1999)
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Aug 09, 2015 Stephen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anone interested in cultural criticism
An interesting book to read if you are not paying attention to how the vast majority of Americans are living in late 20th-century early 21stcentury America. I read it years ago, after graduate school when these kinds of things were really important to me. I felt it did matter and I resented the fact that I could be driving around Boston, or Atlanta, or Minneapolis or Seattle - it was all the same. Don't get me wrong, those place do look different geographically, but looking at the minutia of our ...more
Katy Bloom
May 21, 2016 Katy Bloom rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Wendell Berry
I feel the description does a wonderful job at captivating the content of this book. I do, however, have to wonder how Leach would interpret events and attitudes in the last decade and a half since this book was published (I believe that was in '99). I would love to read an update.
Mar 28, 2009 Erica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-history
this book could/should have been much more interesting than it was. i thought that many of the subjects the author chose to focus on in making his arguments for the loss of "sense of place" in america were a little...random? unrelated?...namely indian casinos and multicultural academia, and this choice led to some mildly offensive arguments for a point i think could have been made much more effectively through other means. culturally divers universities lead to homogenization and thus the death ...more
Aug 08, 2016 Emmett rated it really liked it
The author seemed to want to dump everything he'd read into the book, constantly quoting other works and writers. That made it a bit of a tedious read. But, generally a great book.
Jan 29, 2008 Zach rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who have to read it
Recommended to Zach by: Professor Freyfogle
This book was about the decline of our attachment to place. Americans more and more have no sense of home. The author sees this as a bad thing - and I suppose it generally is. He blames intermodalism, Wal-Mart, Las Vegas, among other things.

The author may have had some good points in there, but he lost credibility with me by citing a few things that weren't true.

The biggest problem I had with the book was not its content, but the fact that it was so bland. Dont' read it unless you have to.
Jun 04, 2007 Kate rated it liked it
I started this one on a business trip two years ago and when I started reading it, I was in the middle of a chapter about how H-1B visas affect the workforce (basically, different political perspectives about whether what I do all day for a living is good for capitalism or results in giving more-experienced workers less job security). Parts were interesting. Parts about the ways that American society developed.
Reflections from a historian on how some seemingly unrelated American institutions are all symptoms of a larger culture of globalized rootlessness. The author shows the dark side of cosmopolitanism, usually described as both pro-business and pro-human rights among all the elites in America. Like the film Up in the Air, this is a good tonic for a frequent flyer who is looking to build roots on the ground.
Nov 27, 2011 Katrinka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting exploration of the necessity of a sense of place in human existence. I just wish that the author had gone beyond the general in his descriptions of the implications of a loss of that sense.
Sep 02, 2010 Hubert rated it liked it
Not the type of book that you would typically learn a lot from, but has good information and tidbits related to displacement issues within America.
Sep 26, 2007 Patrick marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recently acquired at the Friends of the Library bookstore for the Laguna Niguel, CA public library.
Mar 15, 2007 Jamie rated it liked it
About our contemporary relationship to place
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