History and Hope in American Literature : Models of Critical Patriotism, Hardback Book

History and Hope in American Literature : Models of Critical Patriotism Hardback


Throughout history, creative writers have often tackled topical subjects as a means to engage and influence public discourse.

American authors-those born in the States and those who became naturalized citizens-have consistently found ways to be critical of the more painful pieces of the country's past yet have done so with the patriotic purpose of strengthening the nation's community and future. In History and Hope in American Literature: Models of Critical Patriotism, Ben Railton argues that it is only through an in-depth engagement with history-especially its darkest and most agonizing elements-that one can come to a genuine form of patriotism that employs constructive criticism as a tool for civic engagement.

The author argues that it is through such critical patriotism that one can imagine and move toward a hopeful, shared future for all Americans.

Railton highlights twelve works of American literature that focus on troubling periods in American history, including John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, David Bradley's The Chaneysville Incident, Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine, Tony Kushner's Angels in America, Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Dave Eggers's What Is the What. From African and Native American histories to the Depression and the AIDS epidemic, Caribbean and Rwandan refugees and immigrants to global climate change, these works help readers confront, understand, and transcend the most sorrowful histories and issues.

In so doing, the authors of these books offer hard-won hope that can help point people in the direction of a more perfect union.

History and Hope in American Literature will be of interest to students and practitioners of American literature and history.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 174 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Literary studies: from c 1900 -
  • ISBN: 9781442276369

Other Formats



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops