Pulitzer Prize finalist Greg Grandin, whose new book “The End of the Myth: From Frontier to Border Wall in the Mind of America” has been listed for the National Book Award, will give a talk at Washington College examining the expansionist imperative across American history.
The free, public event on Nov. 21 begins at 5:00 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall in Toll Science Center and is hosted by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. The talk is part of the center’s Crossing Cultures Series, which seeks to foster informed dialogue on immigration, migration, intercultural exchange, and their impact on American life.
A reception will follow the program.
“The End of the Myth” provides a new and eye-opening interpretation of the meaning of the frontier, from early westward expansion to President Donald Trump’s border wall. Grandin explores the meaning of the frontier across the full sweep of U.S. history—from the American Revolution to the War of 1898, the New Deal to the election of 2016.
“Ever since this nation’s inception, the idea of never-ending expansion—either in the form of a landed frontier, economic growth, or, now, an endless war—has been central to American identity,” Grandin says. For centuries, America’s constant expansion—fighting wars and opening markets—served as a “gate of escape,” helping to deflect domestic political and economic conflicts outward. But this deflection meant that the country’s problems, from racism to inequality, were never confronted directly.
Grandin, a professor at New York University, is the author of “The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World,” “Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City” (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), and “Kissinger’s Shadow, the Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman.” A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Grandin served as a consultant to the United Nations truth commission on Guatemala and has received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, among others.
Since its debut in March, the Kirkus Review hailed “The End of Myth” as “an engaging and disquieting analysis of America’s recurring choice between ‘a humane ethic of social citizenship’ and barbarism.” According to Publishers Weekly: “this is a deeply polemical work, and should be read as such, but it offers a provocative historical exploration of a contentious current issue.” The book has been recently placed on the longlist for the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction.
About the Starr Center
Washington College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience explores the American experience in all its diversity and complexity, seeks creative approaches to illuminating the past, and inspires thoughtful conversation informed by history. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large.
About Washington College
Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.