This book is the first volume in a cultural history of the United States, from the earliest English settlements to our own time. It is a history of American folkways as they have changed through time, and it argues a thesis about the importance for the United States of having been British in its cultural origins. From 1629 to 1775, North America ...Read MoreThis book is the first volume in a cultural history of the United States, from the earliest English settlements to our own time. It is a history of American folkways as they have changed through time, and it argues a thesis about the importance for the United States of having been British in its cultural origins. From 1629 to 1775, North America was settled by four great waves of English-speaking immigrants. The first was an exodus of Puritans from the east of England to Massachusetts (1629-1640). The second was the movement of a Royalist elite and indentured servants from the south of England to Virginia (ca. 1649-75). The third was the "Friends' migration,"--the Quakers--from the North Midlands and Wales to the Delaware Valley (ca. 1675-1725). The fourth was a great flight from the borderlands of North Britain and northern Ireland to the American backcountry (ca. 1717-75). These four groups differed in many ways--in religion, rank, generation and place of origin. They brought to America different folkways which became the basis of regional cultures in the United States. They spoke distinctive English dialects and built their houses in diverse ways. They had different ideas of family, marriage and gender; different practices of child-naming and child-raising; different attitudes toward sex, age and death; different rituals of worship and magic; different forms of work and play; different customs of food and dress; different traditions of education and literacy; different modes of settlement and association. They also had profoundly different ideas of comity, order, power and freedom which derived from British folk-traditions. Albion's Seed describes those differences in detail, and discusses the continuing importance of their transference to America. Today most people in the United States (more than 80 percent) have no British ancestors at all. These many other groups, even while preserving their own ethnic cultures, have also assimilated regional folkways which were transplanted from Britain to America. In that sense, nearly all Americans today are "Albion's Seed," no matter what their ethnic origins may be; but they are so in their different regional ways. The concluding section of Albion's Seed explores the ways that regional cultures have continued to dominate national politics from 1789 to 1988, and still control attitudes toward education, government, gender, and violence, on which differences between American regions are greater than between European nations. Albion's Seed also argues that the four British folkways created an expansive cultural pluralism that has proved to the more libertarian than any single culture alone could be. Together they became the determinants of a voluntary society in the United States.Read Less
Good. A copy that has been read, but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact (including dust cover, if applicable). The spine and cover may show signs of wear. Pages can include limited notes and highlighting, and the copy can This item was a donation to Goodwill of Greater Washington. Thanks for your order from Goodwill of Greater Washington.
Fair in fair dust jacket. Slightly bents corners and pages, Some wear and tear from storage, The book is very good condition; All order ship with Delivery confirmation and free track 5. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 972 p. Contains: Illustrations. America: A Cultural History, VOLUME I. Audience: General/trade. Slightly bents corners and pages, Some wear and tear from storage, The book is very good condition; All order ship with Delivery confirmation and free track 5
This is a great book. Lots of facts, all fully referenced, and insightful interpretations. This book should be on the curriculum for all American schools as it details the early years of the country in ways that other books never have. From a political and social perspective it very clearly explains why Americans from different parts of the country think and react the way they do. If only they could see the influence that their history exerts on them i think the United States would be a more harmonious and progressive country. Enjoyable reading.
Jan 27, 2011
Wonderful author and very interesting. This is a marathon, not a sprint but gives an entire new context to view American history.
Aug 12, 2009
Enlightening Framework for American History
Of all the various speculations about what has formed the American character and the "culture wars," David Hackett Fischer's thesis in Albion's Seed should be given primacy. He argues that there were four identifiable groups arriving in the American colonies from Britain in the 17th Century with conflicting values, ideas, and ways of life which have been adopted by immigrants ever since, still shaping the world we know.
The best part about Fischer is that he makes the argument painlessly, letting the accumulation of detail speak for him, such as the way each group looked at time, work, food, and leisure.
As an amateur genealogist, I also found very useful details to explain patterns of settlement of my own ancestors (and found a couple of them in his genealogical tables) and discussions of naming customs to develop clues for earlier generations.
I liked it so well I'm getting a second copy to loan out !
Jun 3, 2007
One of the very best
This is the kind of book that has altered and enriched my view of the world. Fortunately, Dr Fischer writes extremely well, and has been served excellently by the typographical layout, which leads one painlessly through an infinity of research. This is his first volume in a projected cultural history of the States, with a thesis that he builds up page by page and paragraph by paragraph. The four main regional sections of our English colonies come to life in their differences, differences rooted in the various regions of Britain from which their colonists emigrated, which he sees still operating in succeeding centuries of conflict and compromise. The book is scholarly without being oppressive, and exciting in its ideas. If there were an extra star, I would click it, but be prepared for its length.
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