Item description for All Roads Lead to the American City by Peter Swirski...
All Roads Lead to the American City provides an original view of the urban culture in America seen through its irrevocable ties with the cities and roads. Examining the history, cinema, literature, cultural myths and social geography of the United States, the book puts some of the greatest as well as the 'baddest' American cities under the microscope. Taking the role of the roads that crisscross and connect the cities as their shared point of reference, these essays explore ways to understand the people who live, commute, work, create, govern, commit crime and conduct business in them.
Cities, for the most part, are America. Their values and problems define not only what the United States is, but what other nations perceive the United States to be. Roads and transportation, on the other hand, and their impact on the American culture and lifestyle, form not only the integral part of the historical rise-and-shine of the modern city, but a physical release from and a cultural antidote to its pressure-cooker stresses. Tracing the boundless variety and complexity of these twin themes, All Roads Lead to the American City is built around an interlinked series of essays on the urban culture in America. Juxtaposing the city and the road, it looks alternatively at cities as historical, geographical, social and cultural centres of life in the land, and at roads as physical as well as metaphorical arteries that lead in and out of the city.
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Studio: University of Washington Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.1" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.95 lbs.
Release Date Aug 1, 2007
Publisher University of Washington Press
ISBN 9622098622 ISBN13 9789622098626
Availability 0 units.
More About Peter Swirski
Peter Swirski is Professor of American literature and culture at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Honorary Professor of American Studies at Jinan University, China, and member of the Executive Council of the International American Studies Association (IASA).
Peter Swirski has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Missouri, St Louis, University of Hong Kong University o.
Reviews - What do customers think about All Roads Lead to the American City?
A great textbook in American Literature! Oct 18, 2007
"I think the book is very informative. I have no previous knowledge of American history, and I think the book is very useful for anyone wishing to know more about American history as it provides not only a broad overview, but also details of particular periods. To me, the details keep the book interesting." This is how my first-year Arts student, Karen Chan, at the University of Hong Kong comments on All Roads Lead to the American City, which is currently used as a textbook for the first-year introductory course on American Studies.
As an English teacher at the University of Hong Kong, I have quite a number of Arts students having a genuine interest in American Studies. If you are interested in American Literature, do you think you should only work on disciplinary studies of the subject? Is it adequate to watch some Hollywood movies or read crime novels and say that you have a good mastery of contemporary American culture? Tapping the insights of "the entire spectrum of the humanities and social sciences to evaluate the transformations currently underway" (p.4), any students or knowledge seekers can just follow Swirski's slim single tightly-knitted collection to find the answers as it puts Urbs Americana under the microscope. With this indispensable reader in hand, you can reach for core interdisciplinary analyses a la American Studies.
All Roads Lead to the American City is another magnificent offering from Peter Swirski, who is Associate Professor in American Literature and heads American Studies at the University of Hong Kong. Swirski is an exceptional talented writer who has written nine books in American Literature and Culture and has contributed more than fifty articles in various places. Swirski's works have been highly praised by numerous scholars and literary critics. Once again, All Roads Lead to the American City is an amazing collection that readers should not miss.
"Cities, for the most part, are America", and are "crisscrossed by tendrils of traffic-bearing arteries", writes Swirski (p.1). The metaphors of the road and the city are intensely revealed throughout the whole collection. With important contributors from interdisciplinary areas of American Studies (History, Film, Religion, and Geography, plus Swirski's own chapter on literature of the city), Swirski's collection comprises five intercultural essays with rich and lively content about American culture. Taken as a whole, readers will first follow the steps of a historian, Priscilla Roberts, to explore the socio-historical and political factors that contribute to the `perennial amibvalence' of the rise of cities and urban culture in America. Next comes a further elaboration of the metaphor of the road by a film scholar, Gina Marchetti, who uses works of a popular `road movie' filmmaker, Renee TajimaPeñas, to portray a personal search of identity through the eyes of an Asian American. Swirski himself, in the central chapter, invites readers to explore the New York City by a vivid and fascinating discussion of Ed McBain's police procedurals to argue for the crucial role of crime literature in "nobrow aesthetics", as Swirski calls it. The last two chapters are a literary-cultural examination of the dreams about the America's literature of the road by a literary and religious comparativist, Earle Waugh, and a vivid insight into the latest development of Urbs Americana from William John Kyle.
As the guests complimented in the Book Launch at the University of Hong Kong, All Roads Lead to the American City has the potential of becoming a great and influential textbook for any students, teachers, or general knowledge seekers. Its impact should not be underestimated.
Stunning book...stunning journey....stunning metaphor of life Sep 24, 2007
The idea of life as a journey has been always a fascinating concept.....after all being at crossroads of life forces you to make choices in your life...sometimes good...sometimes bad... But this book which explores the American journey with such intensity gives also life journey its special meaning. It made me realise that our journey continuously imposes on us this tough dilemma of where you are heading in your life or where your life is heading you....
If we are the cities and cities are us - the roads to our cities and their streets become borderless and paved with the power of human dreams and desires, connecting us with each other in the search for the ultimate meaning for our lives - our freedom in making choices in our journey for better life...
"All Roads Lead to the American City" certainly deserves its special place ...and not only because of its relevance to American studies - but also because of its contribution to human journey...no matter where you are....and where you are heading in your life.
What Are U Waiting For?! Aug 30, 2007
The exhilarating journey of the United States on the road crisscrossing the heart of the city to the suburban outskirt can now be fully experienced in Peter Swirski's recent work -- All Roads Lead to the American City. Bringing together five inter-linking and inter-cultural essays by scholars from different disciplines, Swirski has once again triumphed over an indispensable read for all walks of life. The collection starts with Priscilla Roberts' detailed account of the socio-historical and political factors that contribute to what she terms a "perennial ambivalence" of the Americans and the city. This is followed by Gina Marchetti who in chapter two illustrates the Asian American search of identity in the land of plenty by examining Renee Tajima-Peñas documentary My America... or, Honk if You Love Buddha (1997). The central chapter written by Swirski himself brings the readers to the mean street of the exciting hardboiled era and the hustle-bustle of today's high-rise through Ed McBain's police procedurals, which vividly personify the city as femme-fatale. In chapter four, Earle Waugh explores the road with the notion of betterment initially driven by moral and religious concern, then by that of the state and the public, which reflects "the decay of a corporate manifest destiny" (95-96). Last but not least, William Kyle in the concluding chapter studies the growth of metropolises and the future of urbs Americana by looking at the interplay between the constant peopling, demographic growth and pattern, as well as the socio-political structuring and policies in the nation. As Professor Christine Bold remarks, "This collection of papers contains tons of valuable information and much lively writing. Its strengths are its accesibility, its juxtaposition of materials, and its historical sweep," All Roads is likely to become a core textbook in every classroom where American Studies is taught. Given so much scholarship has been dedicated to globalization leading from the American City, All Roads Lead to the American City is indeed a highly original thesis. With its literary flair as well as its historical and sociological vision, Swirski's collection proves unfailingly to be a rewarding read for just about everyone!