The rise and fall of Anglo-America /
Eric P. Kaufmann.
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2004.
viii, 374 p.
0674013034 (alk. paper)
More Details
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2004.
0674013034 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2005-02-01:
The recent death of Ronald Reagan reminded Americans of the "culture wars" at the center of political debate for the past generation. These have been portrayed often as a struggle of ethnic and racial minorities against the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant mainstream; political scientist Kaufmann (Birkbeck College, Univ. of London) disagrees. He traces the roots of this struggle back to the era of the American Revolution, and asserts that the culture wars reflect a deep tension within WASP culture--one that pits liberal, cosmopolitan values against a desire to maintain the dominance of a traditional Anglo-Protestant ethnic core. After briefly surveying the "double consciousness" of Anglo-American thought in the 19th century, which alternated between a mythic individual liberty and a resolute acculturating imperative, Kaufmann identifies a cosmopolitan vanguard that challenged WASP hegemony in the early 20th century. Including liberal Progressives, ecumenical Protestants, and young intellectuals, cosmopolitanism actually carried the day by the 1960s. What we know as the culture wars are, in effect, a conservative reaction to the cosmopolitanism that emerged as the Anglo-Protestant ethnic core slowly disappeared amid new immigration and multicultural currents fostered by reformers who identified themselves as residing within the Anglo-American ethnic group. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. K. Fones-Wolf West Virginia University
Review Quotes
[A] compelling study...Kaufmann writes with admirable detachment and objectivity, and reveals the mechanism by which the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant founders of the U.S. lost their political and cultural dominance. Kaufmann shows how a longstanding cosmopolitan element within Wasp ideology shifted from a symbolic role to the core of national life, and the Wasp population recast their own role accordingly. In other words, they did it to themselves...It is so refreshing to read a generous, open and positive book on this subject--what a pity that it is Huntington who has attracted the attention.
Many of Kaufmann's arguments and reinterpretations of historical periods are original. They will provoke discussion and criticism but in the process will advance our understanding of American national identity. He brings an original and fresh perspective to bear on the formation, content, and meaning of this identity.
Eric Kaufmann's The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America will make an important contribution to the long-sustained debate over the nature and distinctiveness of American identity and American nationality. Kaufmann forcefully and effectively locates the significant moving power that has transformed the United States from a society with a single dominant ethnic group, into one that is clearly something else, in the powerful central ideas that were present at the origins of American society.
Illuminating...Mr. Kaufmann shows how the culture of 'white Anglo-Saxon protestants,' or Wasps, was constructed and, from the early 20th century, gradually dismantled.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2005
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Main Description
As the 2000 census resoundingly demonstrated, the Anglo-Protestant ethnic core of the United States has all but dissolved. In a country founded and settled by their ancestors, British Protestants now make up less than a fifth of the population. This demographic shift has spawned a "culture war" within white America. While liberals seek to diversify society toward a cosmopolitan endpoint, some conservatives strive to maintain an American ethno-national identity. Eric Kaufmann traces the roots of this culture war from the rise of WASP America after the Revolution to its fall in the 1960s, when social institutions finally began to reflect the nation's ethnic composition. Kaufmann begins his account shortly after independence, when white Protestants with an Anglo-Saxon myth of descent established themselves as the dominant American ethnic group. But from the late 1890s to the 1930s, liberal and cosmopolitan ideological currents within white Anglo-Saxon Protestant America mounted a powerful challenge to WASP hegemony. This struggle against ethnic dominance was mounted not by subaltern immigrant groups but by Anglo-Saxon reformers, notably Jane Addams and John Dewey. It gathered social force by the 1920s, struggling against WASP dominance and achieving institutional breakthrough in the late 1960s, when America truly began to integrate ethnic minorities into mainstream culture.
Table of Contents
The WASP Ascendancy
The Rise of Anglo-America
Limited Liberals: "Double-Consciousness" in Anglo-American Thought, 1750-1920
Conservative Egalitarians: The Progressive Mind in the Nineteenth Century
The Cosmopolitan Vanguard, 1900-1939
Pioneers of Equality: The Liberal Progressives
Cosmopolitan Clerics: The Role of Ecumenical Protestantism
Expressive Pathfinders: The New York Modernists
The Fall of Anglo-America
Cosmopolitanism Institutionalized, 1930-1970
The Decline of Anglo-America
Cultural Modernization: Making Sense of Anglo-America's Demise
American Whiteness: Dominant Ethnicity Resurgent?
Liberal Ethnicity and Cultural Revival: A New Paradigm
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem