Greg Grandin – The End of the Myth

From a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a new and eye-opening interpretation of the meaning of the frontier, from early westward expansion to Trumps border wall.

Ever since this nations inception, the idea of an open and ever-expanding frontier has been central to American identity. Symbolizing a future of endless promise, it was the foundation of the United States belief in itself as an exceptional nation – democratic, individualistic, forward-looking. Today, though, America has a new symbol: the border wall.

In The End of the Myth, acclaimed historian Greg Grandin explores the meaning of the frontier throughout the full sweep of US history – from the American Revolution to the War of 1898, the New Deal to the election of 2016. For centuries, he shows, Americas constant expansion – fighting wars and opening markets – served as a gate of escape, helping to deflect domestic political and economic conflicts outward. But this deflection meant that the countrys problems, from racism to inequality, were never confronted directly. And now, the combined catastrophe of the 2008 financial meltdown and our unwinnable wars in the Middle East have slammed this gate shut, bringing political passions that had long been directed elsewhere back home.

It is this new reality, Grandin says, that explains the rise of reactionary populism and racist nationalism, the extreme anger and polarization that catapulted Trump to the presidency. The border wall may or may not be built, but it will survive as a rallying point, an allegorical tombstone marking the end of American exceptionalism.

Author: Greg Grandin
Narrator: Eric Pollins
Duration: 13 hours 27 minutes
Released: 19 May 2003
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Language: English

User Review:

hare humane

This book described in detail a long and fundamental array of social and political movements all rooted in the myth of limitless expansion and privileged, often savage freedom. And it is not only the myth of limitless opportunity (of land and ingenuity) that has served as a safety valve for white frustrations and resentment, but also unbridled savagery (towards African Americans, Native Americans, Mexican Americans and others) that Grandin shows with a wealth of examples and overwhelmingly clear patterns, US institutions – cultural as well as political and economic – have and still do not only allow but encourage. The documentation presented is thorough and well- explained, making further research accessible. Yet the question remains: how do we overcome this Myth has been rooted and continues to be central to our history.