The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice

Greil Marcus, Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-374-10438-2

Marcus plumbs the depth and breadth of American exceptionalism through his unique lens of cultural criticism, forging often astounding links between people, places, works of art and miscellaneous phenomena, as he has in most of his previous nine books. The independent scholar posits that the United States of America is a cultural construction, grounded in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Without those bedrocks, Marcus believes, the nation would be "little more than a collection of buildings and people who have no special reason to speak to each other, and nothing to say." Marcus builds his own erudite vision upon John Winthrop's 1630 speech "A Modell of Christian Charity," Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address in 1865, Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 exhortation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, the later novels of Philip Roth, the films of David Lynch and the music of David Thomas with his band Pere Ubu. More than most books, Marcus's latest tour de force is quite likely to divide readers into two camps: those who find it brilliant and those who find it baffling. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 06/05/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-571-22157-8
Paperback - 324 pages - 978-0-312-42642-2
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4668-0422-7
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