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The History of the Future

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  46 ratings  ·  7 reviews
What does it mean to think about Dallas in relationship to Dallas? In The History of the Future, McPherson reexamines American places and the space between history, experience, and myth. Private streets, racism, and the St. Louis World’s Fair; fracking for oil and digging for dinosaurs in North Dakota boomtowns—Americana slides into apocalypse in these essays, revealing us to ourselves.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by Coffee House Press
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Guy Choate
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
History should be taught to high school students in the way that McPherson presents it in this collection of essays—he makes the reader understand how the history of a subject is relevant today. He doesn’t overlook popular culture, and he doesn’t overlook the parts of history that are only tangentially related to the subject matter. Because of that, it becomes clear that there is an art to his method. This book is as educational as it is entertaining. And of course, at times it’s infuriating and ...more
Jd
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The essay on St. Louis and the Atomic bomb both rule.
James
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it
The first essay, a history of Dallas intertwined with a history of Dallas, is brilliant. None of the others are as good, and McPherson inserts some self-congratulatory remarks to show his progressive bona fides; he's better writing about fracking than he is about Ferguson and his Monday-morning quarterbacking the use of the atomic bomb is both predictable and myopic. (The quotations he uses are fine but cherry-picked to suit what I assume was his position long before beginning his essay on Los Alamos, which ...more
Carl
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book of essays on topics dealing with the history of the United States from a somewhat social perspective, including the author's own family. I have never read McPherson and didn't know what to expect, but his collection blew me away. Highly recommend this book for essay fans and fans of the author.
Robert
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
While I was less interested in the essays about Dallas and about Gettysburg, the rest were great! I especially liked the ones about St. Louis and its forgotten Worlds Fair (and Olympic Games), about the Bakken oil rush, about nuclear weapons, and about the southern California doomsday bunker business.
Jacob Hoefer
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Edward McPherson draws upon the mundane details of the past to try and explain (or at least explore) some of the most significant moments in American history.
What surprised me most about these essays was how well written they are. They each had such a distinct voice. It feels almost intimate. You will not only gain insight into some of the most landmark events in U.S. history, but you also get to learn a great deal about McPherson himself. Highly recommended.
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Hampton Richards
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with the author after reading his fascinating book "The Backwash Squeeze", and I have since read almost all of his essays and other works. He has such a unique voice for weaving first-person encounters into the history and context of fascinating and often under-reported stories of our nation and culture. I'd recommend this to anyone as it is as enjoyable as it is revealing.
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