4th of July: Emancipation Proclamations!

July 1, 2014 | By Book Department

A colorful Independence Day parade of books: delve into this patriotic selection covering U.S. history, identity, and societal shifts for the holiday. Take these with you to your BBQ or for the train ride home after a fireworks’ display. 


Returning to Reims by Didier Eribon (MIT Press, 2013)
After his father passes, Eribon travels back to his hometown and must learn to come out of the “class closet.” A spell-binding display of the complex and ever-intersecting forms of identity between class, family, sexuality, Returning to Reims is a remarkable work of sociological inquiry.

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012)
De Beauvoir’s revelation: “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman” is an iconic tool of reference for anyone trying to explain the foundations of feminism. Philosophical, smart, and a trend-setter (to say the least), this title had a great impact across the pond on the Anglophone Women’s Lib front for reproductive rights when first published in 1949.

La Révolution américaine : La quête du bonheur by Bernard Cottret (Perrin, 2004)
Found in the Declaration of Independence, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” has become one of the most recognizably American mantras. But what is the full story behind these words? Historian Cottret explores the semantics and spirit behind the word “revolution” with a fresh look at the relations between England, America, and France.

Nous, le peuple: Les origines du nationalisme américain by Elise Marienstras (Gallimard, 1988)
“We the People”, a powerful phrase, setting the beginnings of a nation built upon the backs of democratic ideologies and institutions. In her poignant piece, Marienstras explores the origins of American nationalism, looking at the historical, cultural and theoretical developments of social contracts and universalism.

*While the previous two tiles have not (yet) been translated, they offer unique socio-historical approaches to American history and the country’s strive for independence.


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