Visions of America: Personal Narratives from the Promised Land

Wesley Brown, Editor, Amy Ling, Editor
Wesley Brown, Editor, Amy Ling, Editor Persea Books $29.95 (369p) ISBN 978-0-89255-173-6
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
Paperback - 369 pages - 978-0-89255-174-3
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-89255-311-2
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In this rich and diverse collection, three dozen 20th-century writers muse about their experiences in and observations of America. A companion to Imagining America: Stories from the Promised Land, also edited by Brown and Ling, these essays--most reprints or excerpts from books--suggest that multiculturalism can expand our vision rather than divide us. Though the essays are organized in rough chronological fashion, some emphasize place (Barbara Grizzuti Harrison on Bensonhurst, Michael Stephens on Hawaii), others identity (Richard Rodriguez on language, Eva Hoffman on ``postmodern uncertainty''), others the immigrant experience (Bharati Mukherjee) or the changing times (Joan Didion on the 1960s, James Farmer on the civil rights movement). Some Americans must leave home to find insights (June Jordan in the Bahamas), while some non-Americans come here to observe, such as the Palestinian Anton Shammas (who sees the country as big enough to contain the ``portable homelands'' brought by immigrants). Amidst the play of ideas and emotions surrounding ethnicity and identity, essays by Wendell Berry and Gretel Ehrlich celebrate the enduring truths of the land. (Jan.)
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