"Relentlessly accessible. . . . This is that rare history that tells what influential thinkers failed to think, what famous writers left unwritten."
--Jill Leovy, The American Scholar
By the bestselling author of American Nations, the story of how the myth of U.S. national unity was created and fought over in the nineteenth century--a myth that continues to affect us today
Union tells the story of the struggle to create a national myth for the United States, one that could hold its rival regional cultures together and forge an American nationhood. On one hand, a small group of individuals--historians, political leaders, and novelists--fashioned and promoted the idea of America as nation that had a God-given mission to lead humanity toward freedom, equality, and self-government. But this emerging narrative was swiftly contested by another set of intellectuals and firebrands who argued that the United States was instead the homeland of the allegedly superior "Anglo-Saxon" race, upon whom divine and Darwinian favor shined.
Colin Woodard tells the story of the genesis and epic confrontations between these visions of our nation's path and purpose through the lives of the key figures who created them, a cast of characters whose personal quirks and virtues, gifts and demons shaped the destiny of millions.