As 'American dream' became a cliché, the contrary 'American nightmare' was inevitable. This study of Americanist thought in the 20th century excavates the cultural currents of the American Century.
Many modern myths of the United States and Europe were formed during war and occupation. Some saw the U.S. as culture’s redeemer. Others saw a stereotypical America, rich in civilization but poor in culture, overtake a stereotypical Europe, rich in culture and equally rich in disaster. Others, reading in the ruins, found wisdom in Moby-Dick. To be an Americanist was to navigate an era of transatlantic projection, disparity, recrimination, and longing.