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eBook American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville epub

by Bernard-Henri Levy

eBook American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville epub
  • ISBN: 1400064341
  • Author: Bernard-Henri Levy
  • Genre: Social Sciences
  • Subcategory: Politics & Government
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Random House (January 24, 2006)
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • ePUB size: 1291 kb
  • FB2 size 1331 kb
  • Formats txt docx lrf rtf


Bernard-Henry Lévy is a philosopher, journalist, activist, and filmmaker. It was, initially, a journey in the footsteps of Alexis de Tocqueville.

Bernard-Henry Lévy is a philosopher, journalist, activist, and filmmaker. He was hailed by Vanity Fair magazine as Superman and prophet: we have no equivalent in the United States. It then seemed to morph into a traditional travelogue as Bernard-Henri Levy criss crossed America travelling mainly by road and meeting a wonderful assortment of Americans from all walks of life. He then concludes the book with a confusing piece of analysis which was, frankly, confusing.

To answer these questions, celebrated philosopher and journalist Bernard-Henri Lévy spent a year traveling throughout the country in the footsteps of another great Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, whose Democracy in America remains the most influential book ever.

To answer these questions, celebrated philosopher and journalist Bernard-Henri Lévy spent a year traveling throughout the country in the footsteps of another great Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, whose Democracy in America remains the most influential book ever written about our country. The result is American Vertigo, a fascinating, wholly fresh look at a country we sometimes only think we know.

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Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French writer with a spatter-paint prose style and the grandiosity of a college sophomore; he rambled around this country at the behest of The Atlantic Monthly and now has worked up his notes into a sort of book.

How do Bernard-Henri Lévy’s observations of American life compare with those of de Tocqueville? .

How do Bernard-Henri Lévy’s observations of American life compare with those of de Tocqueville? By Tony Judt, April 28, 2006. It is a collection of magazine articles previously published in the Atlantic Monthly, bound loosely together by the trope of a Tocquevillian retread, their presence between hard covers justified by the addition of a characteristically immodest introduction and an Epilogue ("Reflections") which reads as though dictated in some haste. Indeed the whole book sounds as though it were recorded on the move. No topic gets more than three pages of attention.

Rick Steves meets French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, a household name in his home country (where they .

Rick Steves meets French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, a household name in his home country (where they simply call him "BHL"). During the height of recent tensions between political factions in the US and "old Europe," BHL traveled all across America, meeting with average Americans of all types, and wrote a book about our country's cultural identity, patriotism, and the creed that holds the . together as a nation.

BERNARD-HENRI LÉVY: Thank you, Joanne Myers, and thanks to all of you who have come so early in the morning. I am very pleased and very honored to be hosted here in this very prestigious place, with such a prestigious crowd as well, at the beginning of this long book tour, which will drive me again all around America. I had the first trip, which was for writing this book, and I will have now a second trip

In the 1990s, Lévy called for European and American intervention in the . American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville, 2006, ISBN 1-4000-6434-1.

In the 1990s, Lévy called for European and American intervention in the Bosnian War during the breakup of Yugoslavia. He spoke about the Serb POW camps which were holding Muslims. In preparation for the series, In the Footsteps of Tocqueville, Lévy criss-crossed the United.

What does it mean to be an American, and what can America be today?To answer these questions, celebrated philosopher and journalist Bernard-Henri Lévy spent a year traveling throughout the country in the footsteps of another great Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, whose Democracy in America remains the most influential book ever written about our country. The result isAmerican Vertigo, a fascinating, wholly fresh look at a country we sometimes only think we know. From Rikers Island to Chicago mega-churches, from Muslim communities in Detroit to an Amish enclave in Iowa, Lévy investigates issues at the heart of our democracy: the special nature of American patriotism, the coexistence of freedom and religion (including the religion of baseball), the prison system, the “return of ideology” and the health of our political institutions, and much more. He revisits and updates Tocqueville’s most important beliefs, such as the dangers posed by “the tyranny of the majority,” explores what Europe and America have to learn from each other, and interprets what he sees with a novelist’s eye and a philosopher’s depth. Through powerful interview-based portraits across the spectrum of the American people, from prison guards to clergymen, from Norman Mailer to Barack Obama, from Sharon Stone to Richard Holbrooke, Lévy fills his book with a tapestry of American voices–some wise, some shocking. Both the grandeur and the hellish dimensions of American life are unflinchingly explored. And big themes emerge throughout, from the crucial choices America faces today to the underlying reality that, unlike the “Old World,” America remains the fulfillment of the world’s desire to worship, earn, and live as one wishes–a place, despite all, where inclusion remains not just an ideal but an actual practice.At a time when Americans are anxious about how the world perceives them and, indeed, keen to make sense of themselves, a brilliant and sympathetic foreign observer has arrived to help us begin a new conversation about the meaning of America.
Comments: (7)
Beazezius
I found this book interesting from the outset. If you are one of those nerds who has actually read de Tocqueville, then you will not be disappointed by this book's efforts to retrace de Tocqueville's steps. What you will find is that the America that de Tocqueville would discover today is perhaps less full of innocent promise than uncertain extremes.
Frosha
I found "American Vertigo" to be a puzzling book. It was, initially, a journey in the footsteps of Alexis de Tocqueville. It then seemed to morph into a traditional travelogue as Bernard-Henri Levy criss crossed America travelling mainly by road and meeting a wonderful assortment of Americans from all walks of life. He then concludes the book with a confusing piece of analysis which was, frankly, confusing. Indeed, it was only in the final pages where he wrote a brief postscript that the narrative gained any semblance of consistency. So, all in all, a less than satisfying read.

I had expected much more. Tocqueville was an early observer of the American experiment. For another Frenchman to try to rework an earlier master was probably a clever idea. Levy comes with a great resume and should have been able to handle this task with ease. However, the result is disappointing. It is probably the travelogue where the book is its most readable. Levy has an unexpected knack of seeing the interesting within the mundane. He has a keen eye and a fluid style. It's a pity that the book couldn't have been more a travelogue than a political treatise. In the former, Levy excels while in the latter he becomes confused.

My criticisms notwithstanding, Levy does manage to redeem himself at the book's end. Here, he briefly discusses Hurricane Katrina and the tragedy of New Orleans. This one event did so much to show the very best and the very worst of America all at once. The best being the willingness of people to pitch in and help. The worst being the pathetic incompetence of its then President. America deserved better than the negligence that its government showed in the wake of Katrina. Levy does well to articulate this point.

Overall, this book is mixed. It will anger some, encourage others and simply confuse many. I had expected more. Levy fails to deliver.
Sti
Sometime around 1980 I was sitting in a Parisian movie theater with my friend Maurice waiting for the start of a movie whose name I have long forgotten, when in breezes Bernard-Henri Levy with his entourage and a woman on his arm who was obviously trying to look beautiful.

"Is that one of the 'New Philosophers'?" I asked.

Maurice shrugged his shoulders, "He is neither new, nor a philosopher, he's just a journalist with a flair for publicity."

Shortly after the publication of his book "Barbarism With a Human Face (1979)," BHL became one of the leaders of a group known in France as the New Philosophers. Along with Andre Glucksmann, Alain Finkielkraut, and Pascal Bruckner, he became one of the leading voices of anti-Marxism, anti-totalitarianism, and anti-antiAmericanism. The rise of the New Philosophers coincided with the rise of the neocons in the US - with whom they are sometimes compared. BHL stood out because he was the most flamboyant, the most telegenic, and he was fabulously wealthy. ( He inherited money from his parents who did well in the lumber business.)

In the last 25 years BHL has been busy: he has written over 20 books and occaisionally serves as emissary for the French government. He has his detractors in France as well as America. (Garrison Keillor's hatchet job in the New York Times was a good exmple of the loathing BHL inspires.)

This book does have the elements of a "Freaks, Fatties, Fanatics, and Faux Culture Excursion," as Keillor describes it, but he's missing the point. BHL has a great deal of admiration for America, and he often defends America in France; he is, after all, the anti-antiAmerican. He's angry, however, at the neocons for spoiling the idea of intervention. As an activist and an internationalist, he is often on the front lines for stopping genocide or for overthrowing this or that brutal dictator. After the invasion of Iraq, however, foreign intervention has taken a back seat to the realist predilection of not interferring with the internal affairs of other countries.

BHL's prose can be very hyperbolic and colorful, his observations are many times on target, and many times they are not - inevitable in what is essentially a philosophical travelogue. Another thing about his prose is that he employs the shotgun approach, he says everything and its opposite. Keillor was wrong, he was not short on facts and long on conclusions, rather he is long on impressions and short on conclusions.

Notwithstanding the vertigo that the reader as well as the writer experiences in trying to make sense of America, this book can be entertaining and enlightening.
Umsida
A French philosopher with liberal leanings tours America to parallel Tocqueville's journey. Basically there are two sections: the tour and his philosophical conclusions. The tour is interesting. Yes, he discloses his political leanings and mentions Clinton and our obsession with a puritanical sexual view (in a European opinion). There is much discussion of Kerry as the tour starts a week after his loss. But the journey touches many varied subjects with excellent thought and particular emphasis on subjects Tocqueville covered in his early 1800's tour, none bigger that our barbaric prison system including Gitmo. Opinions are varied as he moves through the country and varied subjects with in my opinion, no particular leanings but just observations.

Then the CONCLUSION and unfortunately, I was traveling and in a hurry to finish this section. Don't be. This is heavy reading with particular emphasis on sharing his extensive philosophical reading and what theories best fit the American current day philosophy. It's intellectually stimulating but you must be prepared to read thoroughly and many times reread passages to really understand his well-reasoned points.

I'm very happy to have read this book to explore how America and Americans are viewed by other cultures. I commend Levy for a well thought-out important study. This book won't work for everyone but if you are interested in learning, there is much here for you.
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