American Exceptionalism as Part of Myth America

Dr. David Bell relates the long and strange history of the concept of “American Exceptionalism,” analyzing various interpretations of the phrase from the Puritan John Winthrop to President (and non-Puritan) Donald Trump. We wrestle with: the true meaning of the phrase; to what extent it has meant American “difference” and/or American “superiority;” and everything in between. And you’ll get the shock reveal of who actually coined “American Exceptionalism.” A totally gripping analysis! Episode 496.

Buzzkill Bookshelf

Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer (eds.), Myth America: Historians Take On the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past

America’s top historians set the record straight on the most pernicious myths about our nation’s past 

The United States is in the grip of a crisis of bad history. Distortions of the past promoted in the conservative media have led large numbers of Americans to believe in fictions over facts, making constructive dialogue impossible and imperiling our democracy.  

In Myth America, Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer have assembled an all-star team of fellow historians to push back against this misinformation. The contributors debunk narratives that portray the New Deal and Great Society as failures, immigrants as hostile invaders, and feminists as anti-family warriors—among numerous other partisan lies. Based on a firm foundation of historical scholarship, their findings revitalize our understanding of American history. 

Replacing myths with research and reality, Myth America is essential reading amid today’s heated debates about our nation’s past. 

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