A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States (Hardcover)

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A New York Times Best Seller

Enough with the dead white men! Forget what you learned in school! Ever since Columbus—who was probably a converted Jew—“discovered” the New World, the powerful and privileged have usurped American history. The true story of the United States lies not with the founding fathers or robber barons, but with the country’s most overlooked and marginalized peoples: the workers, immigrants, housewives, and slaves who built America from the ground up and made this country what it is today.

In A Most Imperfect Union, cultural critic Ilan Stavans and award-winning cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz present a vibrant alternative history of America, giving full voice to the country’s unsung but exceptional people. From African royals to accused witches, from Puerto Rican radicals to Arab immigrants, Stavans and Alcaraz use sardonic humor and irreverent illustrations to introduce some of the most fascinating characters in American history—and to recount travesties and triumphs that mainstream accounts all too often ignore. What emerges is a colorful group portrait of these United States, one that champions America’s progress while also acknowledging its missteps.

Sweeping and cinematic, stretching from the nation’s prehistory to the post-9/11 era, A Most Imperfect Union is a joyous, outrageous celebration of the complex, sometimes unruly individuals and forces that have shaped our ever-changing land.

About the Author


Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture and Five-College Fortieth Anniversary Professor at Amherst College. He is the author of Latino USA: A Cartoon History and editor of the Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. His work has been translated into a dozen languages and adapted into theater and film. Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and of many international prizes and honors, he lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.


Coverage from NPR



Product Details
ISBN: 9780465036691
ISBN-10: 0465036694
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: July 1st, 2014
Pages: 288
Language: English