Tag Archives: American exceptionalism

Wednesday’s Book Review: “Reinterpreting Exploration”


Reinterpreting Exploration: The West in the World. Edited by Dane Kennedy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Acknowledgments, figures, contributors, index. Vii – 236. ISBN: 978-0-19-975534-9. Hardcover. USD $89.10. Dane Kennedy has assembled a fine collection of historiographical essays on … Continue reading

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The Mythology of the Lone Genius and American Aeronautics Policy


Since December 17, 1903, the dates of the first flight at Kitty Hawk, the Wright brothers have been celebrated as lone geniuses who succeeded when all others had failed. They have been interpreted to represent the very best American civilization has … Continue reading

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Thoughts on an Historical Essay Currently Underway: The Space Program and the Ideal of American Exceptionalism


I have been working on an essay, that I hope to publish someday with the following working title, “The Space Program and the Ideal of American Exceptionalism.” My definition of American exceptionalism emphasizes the perceived special national character of the U.S. as … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Dog Whistle Politics”


Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. By Ian Haney López. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. There is no doubt, and it is confirmed in this book, that racism is the … Continue reading

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The Legacy of Apollo: 45 Years On


July 2014 marks the forty-fifth anniversary of the epochal lunar landing of Apollo 11 in the summer of 1969. Although President John F. Kennedy had made a public commitment on May 25, 1961, to land an American on the Moon … Continue reading

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The Apollo Program and the Idea of Progress


It is somewhat trite to suggest that America was founded on the idea of progress and that it remains both an amorphous concept and one central to American national identity. In the 1830s an astute French interpreter of United States … Continue reading

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Exceptionalist History; Or Not?


It may be that we are living at a time when Americans are seeking to reassert a national and cultural identity that seemed in jeopardy in the aftermath of the Cold War. Throughout most of American history, many Americans’ conceptions … Continue reading

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Announcing the Space Station Freedom Program, January 25, 1984


We are coming up on the the thirtieth anniversary of the public announcement by President Ronald Reagan in his January 25, 1984, State of the Union Address about building a space station. At that time he said: “America has always been greatest … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “To Touch the Face of God: Religion and the American Space Program, 1957-1975″


To Touch the Face of God: Religion and the American Space Program, 1957-1975. By Kendrick Oliver. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012. There is something ethereal in the enterprise of spaceflight. Oliver Kendrick’s To Touch the Face of God: The … Continue reading

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“The Passenger” by Iggy Pop: A Musical Tour of Cold War Berlin


Iggy Pop has contributed many memorable songs to modern culture. His song, “The Passenger,” written with Ricky Gardiner was recorded and released in 1977 on his Lust for Life album. Iggy Pop wrote the lyrics for the song while riding on Berlin’s S-Bahn, … Continue reading

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