Most Americans, who have travelled to Europe, regardless of their political sympathies, race, class or gender, will be all too familiar with the topic of this wonderfully readable, sociologically powerful, and courageous new book by Andrei Markovits. The following scenario might be familiar to some readers: you are at a conference in Europe and you are sitting in a café with your European colleagues. The topic of America comes up. It could be politics, or culture, the behaviour of the Bush administration or the recent successes of a string of very bad movies. Or, it could be praise of someone or something, a political leader or a very bad movie which is critical of the United States. Based on past experience, you sense beneath the veneer of civility what is to come. You pre-emptively opine that you don’t speak for all Americans and that in general you most likely share the perspective of your liberal-minded interlocutors.
View the full article here