FRAGMENTS FROM A LAND OF FREEDOM: Essays in American Culture and Civilization around the Year 2000

Paolo L. Bernardini
Vellum, 2010
180 Pages
ISBN 978-0-9794488-9-8 Paperback

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About the Author

Paolo L. Bernardini is Professor of European History at the University of Insubria, in Como, Italy. He has taught at Boston University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Missouri-Saint Louis. He has been a fellow of the John Carter Brown Library in Providence and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Dr. Bernardini co-edited, with Norman Fiering, The Jews and the Expansion of Europe to the West, and published Literature on Suicide 1516-1815. A Bibliographical Essay.

About the book

This book covers the USA around 2000 through the lens of cultural studies: books, events, exhibitions, and places of learning are seen as mirrors of an affluent, self-sufficient, at least apparently harmonic society just before the collapse of the markets and the 9/11 tragedy. America seemed to be unaware of what history had in place for her. The country was coming to terms with its past, looking favorably towards the future, and waiting for even better times ahead. This book explores movies, from Spike Lee’s to Stanley Kubrick’s; cities, from Atlantic City to Philadelphia; minorities, from the Jews of New York to the Hutterites; public figures, from Albert Hirschman to David Landes. Fragments of the cultural and intellectual scene of the end of the century are captured in order to provide a balanced, critical view, of those happy days before major challenges struck and set in motion an apparently motionless America. Contrary to Francis Fukuyama, the author of this book thinks that history will never stand still, for good and for evil.


“An original and path-breaking work, which follows and re-invent  a long tradition of Italian writers attracted by contemporary USA, from Vittorini to Calvino, from Luigi Barzini jr. to Arbasino, with a keen eye on major and minor themes as well.”

Sergio Romano