THE BOOK THAT REVEALS THE REAL AMERICA

Welcome to The Cracked Bell, where we chart the cultural landscape of the USA in the opening years of the 21st Century, surveying the gap between the American Crisis and the American Dream.

Our starting point is a new book by social anthropologist Tristram Riley-Smith, providing an absorbing account of America in the era of Bush and Obama. This portrait of an extraordinary society is flash-lit by the lightning strikes of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Global War on Terror, and the 2008 Credit crunch. Surface gloss peels away to reveal a social fabric riddled with conflict and paradox.

Americans pay a heavy price for their beloved freedom – and this is emblemized for the author by that jagged fracture in the Liberty Bell. The Cracked Bell gets to the heart of what it means to live in America today, addressing questions of identity and power, belief and value, liberty and law, innovation and tradition, commerce and consumption, nature and civilzation, war and peace.

At this site, you can learn more about the book, reading extracts and reviews. But the journey continues. Tristram Riley-Smith will continue to record his observations on America, and more importantly he wants to hear from you: your voices, your experiences., your feelings and ideas about the USA You can add comments to his blog or contact him via e-mail.


Portrait of an Algonquian Chief, by John White. c 1580

Articles

Kanazawa Talk: Geronimo

Geronimo! Is America a Warrior Nation? 9 September 2011 Dedicated to Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only person officially recognised as a survivor of 2 American...

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Kanazawa Talk: On American Multiculturalism

The Many and the One: On Multiculturalism & American Identity 2 September 2011 Dedicated to Hikozo Hamada also known as Joseph Heco. The first...

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Squaring the Circle

Anthropological Reflections on the Idea of Liberty & the Frontier in America *Talk to London School of Economics: Department of Social Anthropology* *11 February...

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latest blogs

Charles Ives and the Saint Gaudens Sculpture in Boston Common

16 April 2013. As Boston reels in shock from a callous and cowardly bomb attack on families participating in the Boston Marathon,...

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The Cackle and the Sizzle

We are familiar with that American stereotype of the "booster", full of hype and hot air. But there is also a long-established vein...

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Charles Pigott and the Spirit of American Freedom

Charles Pigott was one of England's most prolific satirists in the decade of revolutionary unrest following the French Revolution, writing a number of pamphlets...

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