Bunch of Amateurs

A Search for the American Character

By Jack Hitt
(Crown Publishing Group (NY), Hardcover, 9780307393753, 280pp.)

Publication Date: May 15, 2012

List Price: $26.00*
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Description

WHAT IS IT THAT DRIVES THE SUCCESS OF AMERICA AND THE IDENTITY OF ITS PEOPLE? ACCLAIMED WRITER AND CONTRIBUTING EDITOR TO THIS AMERICAN LIFE JACK HITT THINKS IT’S BECAUSE WE’RE ALL A BUNCH OF AMATEURS.

America’s self-invented tinkerers are back at it in their metaphorical garages—fiddling with everything from solar-powered cars to space elevators. In Bunch of Amateurs, Jack Hitt visits a number of different garages and has written a fascinating book that looks at America’s current batch of amateurs and their pursuits. From a tattooed young woman in the Bay Area trying to splice a fish’s glow-in-the-dark gene into common yogurt (all done in her kitchen using salad spinners)
to a space fanatic on the brink of developing the next generation of telescopes from his mobile home, Hitt not only tells the stories of people in the grip of a passion but argues that America’s history is bound up in a cycle of amateur surges.

Beginning with Ben Franklin’s kite and leading all the way to the current TV hit American Idol, Hitt argues that the nation’s
love of self-invented obsessives has always driven the country to rediscover the true heart of the American dream. Amateur pursuits are typically lamented as a world that just passed until a Sergey Brin or Mark Zuckerberg steps out of his garage (or dorm room) with the rare but crucial success story. In Bunch of Amateurs, Hitt argues that America is now poised to pioneer at another frontier that will lead, one more time, to the newest version of the American dream.




About the Author
Jack Hitt is a contributing writer for "Harper's" and "GQ." He also writes for "The New York Times Magazine, Outside, " and "Mother Jones, " and contributes frequently to public radio's "This American Life."


NPR
Saturday, May 19, 2012

In his new book, journalist Jack Hitt says America's amateur spirit goes back to the nation's origins â?? and it's nothing to be ashamed of. The Europeans viewed the Americans as an "unfinished people," Hitt says. "We were amateur everything." And it's only made the nation better. More at NPR.org

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