When Americans describe their compatriots, who exactly are they talking about? This is the urgent question that Douglas Dowland asks in We, Us, and Them. In search of answers, he turns to narratives of American nationhood written since the Vietnam War—stories in which the ostensibly strong state of the Union has been turned increasingly into an America of us versus them. Dowland explores how a range of writers across the political spectrum, including Hunter S. Thompson, James Baldwin, and J. D. Vance, articulate a particular vision of America with such strong conviction that they undermine the unity of the country they claim to extol. We, Us, and Them pinpoints instances in which criticism leads to cynicism, rage leads to apathy, and a broad vision narrows in our present moment.
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