“Russell Banks is not only one of our great novelists but also a courageous and visionary citizen....His first nonfiction book is a gem.”—Cornel West
“Highly entertaining . . . and deeply affecting. . . . Like the best novels of Nadine Gordimer, it makes us appreciate the dyn... amic between the personal and the political, the public and the private, and the costs and causes of radical belief.”—The New York Times, on Cloudsplitter
As America undergoes global scrutiny, acclaimed novelist Russell Banks contemplates the questions of our origins, values, heroes, conflicts, and contradictions with conversational ease and the insightful historical observation found in his works of fiction. Drawing on politics, literature, film, and a deep knowledge of American history, Banks traces the first colonists’ differing motives, their points of intersection through the centuries, and the inevitable influence of the existing cultures they encountered or enslaved, building a vision of an empire built upon destructive—though also creative—forces.
Russell Banks is the author of sixteen works of fiction, many of which depict seismic events in US history, such as the fictionalized journey of John Brown in Cloudsplitter. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous international prizes, and two of his novels—The Sweet Hereafter and Affliction—have been made into award-winning films. His forthcoming novel, The Reserve, will be published in early 2008. President of the International Parliament of Writers and former New York State Author, Banks lives in upstate New York.
Examines the motivations, ideals, and spiritual and material impulses of the early settlers of the United States, and discusses how the American character was formed and has persisted throughout American history, from colonial times up to the present.
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