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America through Foreign Eyes

Oxford University Press
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9780190224493
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9780190224493
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Foreigners have been writing about the United States ever since its foundation. Now it is my turn. But please don't hold this against me: the United States itself is at fault. Like a great many people on earth, I've long been fascinated by this remarkable phenomenon which calls itself America. My fate -or perhaps good fortune- has been that of a foreigner who for half a century lived the American experience-as a child, as a student, as an author, as a recurrent visitor and as a university professor. Being Mexican places me in a special category: having lost half its territory to the United States in the 19th century, having found itself caught up in the maelstrom of America's current identity crisis, Mexico can never ignore what happens north of the border. Further, while serving as Mexico's Foreign Minister from 2000 to 2003, I had the privilege of peeping inside the machinery of power that makes this great nation tick. That said, this book is not written from a Mexican perspective but rather from that of a sympathetic foreign critic who has seen the United States from both inside and outside. And its hope is to contribute something to how Americans view themselves and are viewed by the world. Before embarking on this journey, I naturally looked back at some of my forebears, earlier foreigners who were drawn to visit or live in the United States and who then went on to offer their version of America to their home readers. Some like the French traveler Alexis de Tocqueville, author of the early 19th century classic, Democracy in America, felt European nations had much to learn from the American democratic experiment. Others like Charles Dickens left dismayed by what he considered to be the country's singular obsession with money. But they are just two of dozens who have tried-and continue to try- to find a magic key that unlocks the complexities and contradictions of American society. Indeed, it is as if the United States seeks to challenge foreign writers to explain it, confident they will fail. And in taking it on, these outsiders have variously experienced frustration, hope, anger, excitement, disappointment and enlightenment- but never indifference--


  • | Author: Jorge G. Castañeda
  • | Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • | Publication Date: July 01, 2020
  • | Number of Pages: 320 pages
  • | Language: English
  • | Binding: Hardcover
  • | ISBN-10: 0190224495
  • | ISBN-13: 9780190224493
Author:
Jorge G. Castañeda
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication Date:
July 01, 2020
Number of pages:
320 pages
Language:
English
Binding:
Hardcover
ISBN-10:
0190224495
ISBN-13:
9780190224493