American Monster: How the Nation's First Prehistoric Creature Became a Symbol of National Identity

Cover
NYU Press, 2000 - 483 Seiten
0 Rezensionen
Rezensionen werden nicht überprüft, Google sucht jedoch gezielt nach gefälschten Inhalten und entfernt diese

Fresh insights into the ongoing fascination with dinosaurs and their place in 19th century American nationalism

In 1801, the first complete mastodon skeleton was excavated in the Hudson River Valley, marking the climax of a century-long debate in America and Europe over the identity of a mysterious creature known as the American Incognitum. Long before the dinosaurs were discovered and the notion of geological time acquired currency, many citizens of the new republic believed this mythical beast to be a ferocious carnivore, capable of crushing deer and elk in its "monstrous grinders." During the American Revolution, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson avidly collected its bones; for the founding fathers, its massive jaws symbolized the violence of the natural world and the emerging nation's own dreams of conquest.

Paul Semonin's lively history of this icon of American nationalism focuses on the link between patriotism and prehistoric nature. From the first fist-sized tooth found in 1705, which Puritan clergyman claimed was evidence of human giants, to the scientific racialism associated with the discovery of extinct species, Semonin traces the evangelical beliefs, Enlightenment thought, and Indian myths which led the founding fathers to view this prehistoric monster as a symbol of nationhood.

Semonin also sees the mystery of the mastodon in early America as a cautionary tale about the first flowering of our narcissistic fascination with a prehistoric nature ruled by ferocious carnivores. As such, American Monster offers fresh insights into the genesis of the ongoing fascination with dinosaurs.

Was andere dazu sagen - Rezension schreiben

Rezensionen werden nicht überprüft, Google sucht jedoch gezielt nach gefälschten Inhalten und entfernt diese

AMERICAN MONSTER: How the Nation's First Prehistoric Creature Became a Symbol of National Identity

Nutzerbericht  - Kirkus

A key event in the 18th century was the discovery of the prehuman past, in the form of fossils; here is a look at its impact on the thought of the era.At first, the huge bones and teeth that weathered ... Vollständige Rezension lesen

American monster: how the nation's first prehistoric creature became a symbol of national identity

Nutzerbericht  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Before dinosaurs were discovered, there existed in theory a mysterious creature known as the American incognitum. A few bones and some giant teeth were the only evidence that this gigantic beast once ... Vollständige Rezension lesen

Andere Ausgaben - Alle anzeigen

Über den Autor (2000)

Paul Semonin is a cultural historian and graphic artist. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Oregon. He lives in Eugene, Oregon and occasionally teaches history at Linfield College and Oregon State University.

Bibliografische Informationen