© 2011

Redefining American Identity

From Cabeza de Vaca to Barack Obama

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Ben Railton
    Pages 23-46
  3. Ben Railton
    Pages 47-71
  4. Ben Railton
    Pages 73-98
  5. Ben Railton
    Pages 99-126
  6. Ben Railton
    Pages 127-153
  7. Ben Railton
    Pages 155-168
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 169-187

About this book


Using five personal narratives and in contrast to both the traditional and multicultural narratives, this book suggest cross-cultural transformation has been at the core of America since the first moments of contact.


Barack Obama Contras Expansion identity revolution Tradition

About the authors

BENJAMIN RAILTON Assistant Professor of American and Ethnic Literature at Fitchburg State College, USA.

Bibliographic information


'Railton redefines American identity, adding to traditional and multicultural narratives a third possibility: cross-cultural transformation. Recommended.' CHOICE

"Benjamin Railton's book offers a novel framework for understanding the formation of individual and national identity. Railton's approach is fresh and compelling, and his textual readings are nuanced and persuasive. In all, the book contributes significantly to the scholarship in a variety of disciplines and interdisciplines, including American and ethnic studies, American literature, and American history." - David S. Goldstein, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center and Senior Lecturer of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Bothell"There's much to admire in the details of Ben Railton's book, the illuminating analyses of figures as diverse as the early explorer Cabeza de Vaca and the American President Barack Obama, the surprising links Railton finds among those figures. But there's still more to admire in the way Railton has defined his large topic of American identity, the freshness and capaciousness of that definition. Sometimes defining a topic is itself a significant intellectual accomplishment, and that's what it is here; Railton's definition will help us understand where we live." - Lawrence Rosenwald, Professor of English, Wellesley College