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Restless Nation Starting Over in America

by James M. Jasper

  • ISBN: 9780226394787
  • ISBN10: 0226394786

Restless Nation Starting Over in America

by James M. Jasper

  • List Price: $28.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780226394787
  • ISBN10: 0226394786
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Description: What is it that makes Americans so American? It can't be money: although the United States is the most productive economy in the world, it also has the highest poverty rates. It can't really be faith, either: Americans are the most religious people in the advanced industrial world, but they have the oldest official separation of church and state. Skepticism? Americans are highly suspicious of government, but at the same time they have a naive belief in markets. Is there such a thing as an American character amidst these, and other, paradoxes?

In Restless Nation, James Jasper argues that this elusive national character can be found in Americans' faith in moving. Americans believe that by relocating, they can make themselves into new people -- make more money, get in touch with their inner selves, find spiritual truth, recover their physical health. American culture recommends flight from what you dislike and makes it easy to believe a better life is just around the corner, literally. It is this faith that has brought sixty million immigrants to the shores of the United States. And it is this faith that has put their descendants on the road for hundreds of years. Even today, Americans continue to move far more often -- about every five years -- than anyone else.

Jasper has fashioned a wonderful portrait of this essential American character using the lives of its famous and not-so-famous nomads, facts and statistics, rich historical details, and illustrations that tell their own story. In the tradition of The Lonely Crowd and Habits of the Heart, Restless Nation explores what Americans are really like and how they came to believe so firmly in the "fresh start".

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