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FDL Book Salon Welcomes Ilan Stavans, A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States

Welcome Ilan Stavans (Amherst College) (Twitter) and Host Richard Taylor (dakine01) (Twitter)

A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States

I have always enjoyed history, whether stories of Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, Medeval England, Renaissance Italy, or stories from US history. I especially enjoy history presented with humor and Ilan Stavans’ A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States most certainly presents our history with a dash of humor.

Although I had read a number of biographies and books on specific times in US history during my primary and secondary school years, I learned quickly when I got to college that much of the “history” I had learned in these years was just so much bunk.

This book uses cartoons and narrative to make the points on some of the things we absolutely know about US history that did not happen the way our myths lead us to believe. We follow the narrative of Stavans from the earliest colonial times, through the founding of the United States, the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War through to the “War on Terror.” (This is not an inclusive list by any stretch.)

The “cast” of this book include the:

    Historical Actors,
    The Author,
    The Cartoonist,
    The Actress, and
    The Dog.

All but the Historical Actors offer asides, sometimes a bit snarkily, as the history unfolds.

The publisher’s synopsis offers this precis:

Sweeping and cinematic, stretching from the nation’s prehistory to the post-9/11 era, A Most Imperfect Union is a joyous, outrageous celebration of the complex, sometimes unruly individuals and forces that have shaped our ever-changing land.

Please join me in the comments as we talk with Ilan Stavans about how an immigrant came to write such a book and how he tries to help us understand how our faults make us better able to strive for the “more perfect union” even as we are forced to admit to our “Most Imperfect Union.”


[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. – bev]

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Small town Kentucky country boy lived all over the country. Currently in Ruskin, FL