Liberty, Commerce, and Violence in an American World
By Jedediah Purdy
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375727559, 368pp.)
Publication Date: February 10, 2004
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Having risen to national attention with his first book, For Common Things, Jedediah Purdy now cements his claim to being one of the most arresting public intellectuals of his generation. In Being America, Purdy turns his erudition and unique perspective to America’s relationship with a world that both admires and hates it.
Purdy has absorbed insights from people around the world: Westernized Egyptians who consider Osama bin Laden a hero, an urbane Indian who espouses gay rights and the most thuggish kind of Hindu nationalism, Cambodian sweat-shop workers, and others. Out of these conversations—and his inspired readings of political thinkers from Edmund Burke to James Madison—Purdy breathes new meaning into the American values of democracy, liberty, and free trade. Clear-thinking and far-sighted, Being America encourages America to strive to realize the potential it doesn’t always know it has.
“Incisive and timely. . . . Purdy stands as a calm and articulate voice, able to put much of the current world situation into thoughtful and pragmatic historical context.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Offers refreshing insight into today's debates. . . . If you're looking for something to challenge common assumptions, Purdy's book . . . is well worth the effort." —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“A profound thinker and a fine writer. . . . He offers fascinating theorires.” —The Denver Post
“Purdy is a surprisingly sharp observer. . . . He has the ability to perceive the mix of good and bad in most things.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Keenly observed and brightly reported.” -—San Jose Mercury News