Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing

ISBN: 0312405545
ISBN 13: 9780312405540
By: Gary Colombo Bonnie Lisle

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Reader's Thoughts


Quite simply this book is a collection of essays or excerpts tackling a variety of issues surrounding the "mythology" of America. The offerings are grouped according to a theme: family (specifically the myth of the 1950s nuclear family), education (as a means to "success"), upward mobility, gender, the melting pot, and America as a "Land of Liberty." Every section basically follows the same loose formula-1.) an essay that epitomizes the myth or something old-school that the myth may have originated from 2.)then there will be an essay that almost directly refutes that myth or at least pokes a lot of holes. 3.)The following selections are mostly progressive/liberal leaning, but a couple conservative pieces are offered in each section that I believe only look more foolish in juxtaposition with the other selections..this seems fairly intentional. 4.)A small collection of photographs are also included in each section.I found this book in a free pile at used textbook store in Southern California, and honestly most people who have gone to college and maybe taken at least one social science class will probably be familiar with most of these topics. I think many people of my generation already know that gender is fluid, racism is still an issue, and the nuclear family is almost an anomaly. However, I still found this book to be a very interesting and sometimes refreshing read. I really liked reading essays dealing with education as a means of socialization first and foremost above learning, and especially an essay detailing a compelling and justified call for black reparations. I also just liked being exposed to new (to me) nonfiction writers. With all of the short selections, its kinda like eating addicting snacks...maybe not super enlightening (or nourishing), but satisfying in the short term.


though there are some really good/interesting selections in this book, the part that i found most interesting were the photo portfolios....sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words.....

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Tom Darrow

A great text for anyone who is involved in American studies. Contains numerous essays that encourage debate. They are broken down into the following categories... The Myth of the Model Family, The Myth of Education and Empowerment, The Myth of Individual Opportunity, Myths of Gender, the Myth of the Melting Pot and the Myth of Frontier Freedom. I especially enjoyed the contrast between the Horatio Ager story (about upward mobility) and the Class in America article by Gary Mantsios. Very thought provoking.


I was required to get this book for my first college English course, and I found it to be the best "Textbook" I have ever read. This is the kind of book that I would really want to read in my free time, all the articles are very informative, interesting and thought-provoking. A lot of the subjects are things that you have never thought of before but find yourself being passionate about them right away after you read it. Never dry or boring, always open-minded and challenging you to think deeper about life and yourself. There is a little bit for every person it here and there are always 2 sides to every opinion to keep you questioning yourself. After I dropped the English class I kept the book and am reading it in my free time. I think everyone should be required to read this just to become a more self-aware, culture-aware and participating American citizen.

Mr. Brammer

This anthology includes a pretty wide range of viewpoints and ideas about topics like gender relations, education and race - from Rick Santorum to Thoreau. There certainly is a leftward slant, as the conservative writers included really only create the barest semblance of balance. Rereading America really hits its stride in the last section, where our concept of democracy is discussed in light of the War on Terror. Provocative questions are raised - things that might shock kids out of complacency.


Interesting. I liked the graphic novel section.


Read parts of this book in college...I remember each essay/chapter having an impact on me.


A great "issues-based" reader (cultural studies-oriented) for any college composition or essay writing course. I've taught various editions of this book for many years...and it always succeeds at generating student dialogue grounded in not-so-easy-to-settle issues. I like it so much, I've even blurbed the back cover of this one.

Nicholas Armstrong

This isn't my usual diet, but this is an extremely important book. It is largely essays with a mixing of fictionalized histories and some stories, but, here is the important thing, everything about this book is quality. The writers are all good at what they do, some of them amazing. The essays are poignant and focused, balanced by authors on both sides of the spectrum. This is a historically and politically important book that should be read by every American. Some sections are better than others, but for insight and quality writing, a really do not think a better collection exists about America.On a side note, probably not that interesting to non-Americans, obviously. Still, anyone interested in America should read this with an open mind. It really is outstanding.


I read this as a required text for a english class. It was great, and I didn't sell it back to the bookstore like I do with all my other college texts!!


This is one of those point/counterpoint books that you are often required to read in undergraduate college courses, which is why I was a little surprised to see it pop up in a graduate level course. In spite of the fact that it's clearly intended for undergraduates taking their initial required humanities courses, the articles are actually very thought provoking, and surprisingly I had not already encountered most of them in other contexts. The book delves into all of life's controversies and has articles that reflect a variety of perspectives--both liberal and conservative. While I may never agree with the biases or political choices of some of the authors, I have to concede that all of them have very good points to make. If you are intending to broaden your mind, this is a good book for you.



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