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Portrait of America
Author: Jerrold Hirsch

ISBN: 9780807854891
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 312
Published: 28 September 2003
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 1.91 x 15.24 x 22.86
Description:
How well do we know our country? Whom do we include when we use the word "American"? These are not just contemporary issues but recurring and seemingly permanent questions Americans have asked themselves throughout their history-and questions that were addressed when, in 1935, the Roosevelt administration created the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) under the aegis of the Works Progress Administration. Although the immediate context of the FWP was work relief, national FWP officials developed programs that spoke to much larger and longer-standing debates over the nature of American identity and culture and the very definition of who was an American.

Hirsch reviews the founding of the FWP and the significance of its American Guide series, considering the choices made by administrators who wanted to celebrate diversity as a positive aspect of American cultural identity. In his exploration of the FWP's other writings, Hirsch discusses the project's pioneering use of oral history in interviews with ordinary southerners, ex-slaves, ethnic minorities, and industrial workers. He also examines congressional critics of the FWP vision; the occasional opposition...

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