Exceptional America: What Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other


Exceptional America: What Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other Nontheism
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"America is exceptional, just not in the way most conservatives think. What makes us exceptional, argues Mugambi Jouet in this engaging and learned book, is precisely the degree to which American conservatives reject ideas that are well-accepted in the rest of the Western world and instead embrace punitive criminal justice policies, fundamentalist religious beliefs, and an anti-intellectualism that rejects established findings ranging from global warming to biological evolution. Seeking to understand rather than condemn, Jouet offers a rich and revealing portrait of the America that produced President Donald J. Trump." --Jacob S. Hacker, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University

"This thought-provoking work explores a political shift that has transformed the concept of American exceptionalism into one of American superiority. The author, raised in Paris by a French mother and a Kenyan father and a graduate of American universities, brings the invaluable perspective of an insider-outsider to the double-edged impact of exceptionalist ideology on both the United States and the world. With a combination of appreciation and skepticism, he recognizes the positive exceptionalism of America as a 'city on a hill' as well as a negative insularity that has made the United States an outlier among Western democracies on issues ranging from capital punishment to international human rights treaties." --Susan Jacoby, bestselling author of The Age of American Unreason

"This book is so necessary today. Mugambi Jouet analyzes how the rise of mass incarceration is a microcosm of American society's larger evolution in the past thirty years. This insightful and powerful book, coming from a remarkable comparative perspective, shows well how American attitudes toward criminal justice, health care, economics, race, religion, gender, human rights, and other key issues are more interrelated than we realize." --Bernard Harcourt, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Contemporary Critical Thought, Columbia Law School

"The election of Donald Trump, writes Mugambi Jouet, was not an exceptional departure from American ways of thinking. Rather, the intensifying conservatism that produced it is exceptional when compared to other Western democracies and to America's own asserted values of liberty, equality, and justice. From a multidisciplinary and global perspective, Jouet brilliantly dissects the historical, political, and ideological reasons why Americans are so polarized from other nations and from each other. Exceptional America sheds fresh light on the peculiar and alarming state of U.S. politics today." --Dorothy Roberts, Professor of Law and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, and author of Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century.

"Mugambi Jouet traveled from Paris, France, to Houston, Texas, as a college freshman and has been trying to make sense of the American experience ever since. The result is a richly textured account of the forces that make the United States unlike anywhere else in the world." --June Carbone, Robina Chair in Law, Science, and Technology, University of Minnesota Law School, and coauthor of Red Families v. Blue Families

"Using a comparative perspective, and seeking to place American values in a larger context, Jouet provides perspectives on the pervasive culture war that divides Americans." --Naomi Cahn, Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School, and coauthor of Red Families v. Blue Families

"Exceptional America is a seminal work written by a French author from a comparative framework. It is an eye-opening presentation of America's contradictions, highly relevant in contemporary politics and a must-read for policy makers." --Pashaura Singh, Chair, Department of Religious Studies, University of California, Riverside

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