In the Past Lane: Historical Perspectives on American Culture

Paperback | December 1, 1999

byMichael Kammen

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Michael Kammen is widely regarded as one of our most important--and most diversely talented--cultural historians. David Brion Davis has said, "No other historian of [his] generation has such a broad and concrete grasp of 'American culture' in all its manifestations, from constitutional law toformal painting and popular culture." This engaging volume stands as rich and compelling evidence of that assertion. In the Past Lane collects writings from a span of more than ten years, covering the broad spectrum of Kammen's recent interests. Essay topics include the role of the historian, therelationship between culture and the State, uses of tradition in American commercial culture, American historical art, memory distortion in American history, the contested uses of history in American education, and others. The book will be seen as an important contribution to Kammen's wide-rangingscholarship--and to American cultural history proper. "For professional historians or serious students of history, Kammen's essays provide an excellent opportunity to gauge how those who chronicle our past both influence and are influenced by national and personal experiences."--Booklist

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Michael Kammen is widely regarded as one of our most important--and most diversely talented--cultural historians. David Brion Davis has said, "No other historian of [his] generation has such a broad and concrete grasp of 'American culture' in all its manifestations, from constitutional law toformal painting and popular culture." This e...

Michael Kammen is the Newton C. Farr Professor of American History and Culture at Cornell University. He won the Pulitzer Prize for People of Paradox (1973) and the Francis Parkman Prize for A Machine That Would Go of Itself (1987). Kammen is also the author of The Lively Arts (Oxford, 1996).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 9.09 × 5.98 × 0.79 inPublished:December 1, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019513091X

ISBN - 13:9780195130911

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Table of Contents

I. The Personal and the Professional1. Personal Identity and the Historian's VocationII. Perceptions of Culture and Public Life2. Culture and the State of America3. Temples of Justice: The Iconography of Judgement and American Culture4. "Our Idealism is Practical": Emerging Uses of Tradition in American Commercial Culture, 1889-19365. The Enduring Challenges and Changing Role of Cultural InstitutionsIII. Changing Perceptions of the Past6. Myth, Memory, and Amnesia in American Historical Art7. The Problem of American Exceptionalism: A Reconsideration8. Some Patterns and Meanings of Memory Distortion in American History9. History Is Our Heritage: The Past in Contemporary American Culture

Editorial Reviews

"The essay [on American Exceptionalism], combined with the book's opening one, makes as good an introduction to what being a historian in America has been, and now is, about as the general reader is likely to find."--Colin Waters, The Washington Times