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The Cracked Bell: America and the Afflictions of Liberty

Tristram Riley-Smith

2 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, Politics & government

The book that reveals the real America.

In this groundbreaking book, Tristram Riley-Smith charts the cultural landscape of a conflicted America in the opening decade of the 21st Century and addresses two key questions:

Why is it that a nation that is so clear about its destiny leaves the world confused about its direction of travel; and why is it that a people intent on the pursuit of happiness appears so unsettled?

Delving beneath the chaotic surface of American society, Riley-Smith exposes the enduring fault-lines in the cultural bedrock. In doing so, he offers up a panoramic snapshot of American society, flash-lit by the thunderbolts of '9/11', Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 Credit Crash and the inauguration of President Obama.

The Cracked Bell gets to the heart of what it means to live in Obama's America, addressing questions of identity and power, belief and value, liberty and law, innovation and tradition, commerce and consumption, nature and civilization, war and peace.

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Praise for The Cracked Bell: America and the Afflictions of Liberty

  • Riley-Smith takes us on a tour of the country, full of interesting pit-stops. - Daily Telegraph

  • A hearty polemical feast. - Tablet

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Tristram Riley-Smith

Tristram Riley-Smith worked as a journalist before going up to Cambridge University, where he took a PhD in social anthropology. He spent three years working in the British Embassy in Washington DC. He has since lectured on the anthropology of art at the Smithsonian Institution and contributed to A Dictionary of Classical Reference in English Poetry, Travellers' Dictionary of Quotations and Macmillan's Encyclopaedia of Art. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is married with three sons.

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