Twenty-five Books That Shaped America: How White Whales, Green Lights, and Restless Spirits Forged Our National Identity

Twenty-five Books That Shaped America: How White Whales, Green Lights, and Restless Spirits Forged Our National Identity

by Thomas C. Foster


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Thomas C. Foster, acclaimed author of the phenomenal bestseller How to Read Literature Like a Professor, returns with a hugely entertaining appreciation of twenty-five works of literature that have greatly influenced the American identity. In a delightfully informative, often wry manner, Twenty-Five Books that Shaped America looks closely at important literary classics that are true national treasures. From The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, The Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick, and Huckleberry Finn through Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, and Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, Twenty-Five Books that Shaped America examines masterpieces of the written word that have greatly influence what we are as a people and a nation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061834400
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/24/2011
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 247,529
Product dimensions: 7.84(w) x 5.38(h) x 0.84(d)

About the Author

Thomas C. Foster, author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor and Reading the Silver Screen, is professor emeritus of English at the University of Michigan, Flint, where he taught classes in contemporary fiction, drama, and poetry, as well as creative writing and freelance writing. He is also the author of several books on 20th-century British and Irish literature and poetry.

Table of Contents

Introduction: In the Four Corners xi

1 Maybe Just a Little Made-Up: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin 1

2 A Man, a Plan, a Flintlock: The Last of the Mohicans 17

3 The Allegory Man Cometh: The Scarlet Letter 27

4 Gotta Get Back to the Pond and Set My Soul Free: Walden 43

5 I've Been Workin' on the Whale-Road: Moby-Dick 55

6 The Good Gray Poet, My Eye!: Leaves of Grass 69

7 Girls Gone Mild: Little Women 83

8 About a Boy-and a Raft: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 95

9 Twofer: A Boy's Will and North of Boston 107

10 In Praise of Prairie: My Ántonia 123

11 A Whole Heap of Ashes: The Great Gatsby 135

12 Life Is a Carnival: The Sun Also Rises 147

13 It Takes a Weary Man to Sing a Weary Song: The Weary Blues 159

14 The Bird Is the Word: The Maltese Falcon 171

15 So Big: U.S.A. 183

16 The Winepress of Injustice: The Graces of Wrath 195

17 Like a Hurricane: Their Eyes Were Watching God 205

18 He Ain't Heavy, He's My Cousin: Go Down, Moses 217

19 American Candide: The Adventures of Augie March 235

20 Me and My Shadow: On the Road 247

21 When Reading Got Good: The Cat in the Hat 259

22 Walk a Mile in My Shoes: To Kill a Mockingbird 271

23 Not in Kansas Anymore: The Crying of Lot 49 281

24 Race. Relations.: Song of Solomon 295

25 Home, Home on the Res: Love Medicine 305

Conclusion: Fifteen More and the G.A.N. 317

What People are Saying About This

Janice A. Radway

“Funny, challenging, clear, and always insightful, this intriguing book will make you think again about what it means to be an American.”

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Twenty-five Books That Shaped America: How White Whales, Green Lights, and Restless Spirits Forged Our National Identity 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
PierresFamily More than 1 year ago
From both a cultural and literary point of view, this is a very informative book. Thomas Foster did a thorough job of presenting the connections, and yet the reader doesn't get bogged down in unnecessary details. Great book that I recommend for all bibliophiles!