The stories of America's most extraordinary strivers and their failures and triumphs. Ranging from the shattered gentility of Edith Wharton's heroines to racial confrontation in the songs of Nina Simone, American Rhapsody presents a kaleidoscopic story of the creation of a culture. Here is a series of deeply involving portraits of American artists and innovators who have helped to shape the country in the modern age.
Claudia Roth Pierpont is a staff writer for The New Yorker, where she has written about the arts for more than twenty years. She is the author of Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books, an exploration of the life and work of Philip Roth, and Passionate Minds: Women Rewriting the World, which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. She lives in New York City.
"An ingenious and captivating way to spotlight the kaleidoscopic rhapsody of America's spirit." --Amy Henderson, The Washington Post "Stunningly evocative ... Pierpont writes with sensitivity and erudition - and always in dazzling prose ... American Rhapsody is compulsively readable and fascinatingly informative. Learning this much has almost never been so much fun." --Kevin O'Kelly, Christian Science Monitor "A kaleidoscopic mural of America's cultural coming-of-age in the early to mid-20th century" and "Pierpont's shining prose provides ... bright and memorable moments." --Publishers Weekly "A virtuoso of the profile form . . . exquisitely precise in perception and language . . . [Pierpont] reinvigorates our appreciation for artists instrumental in shaping our culture and propelling our ongoing struggle to realize our ideals." --Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review) "[Pierpont's] witty but sober and evenhanded voice is a consistent pleasure, her prose is limpid and evocative, and her insights consistently dazzle. . . a refreshingly clear-eyed piece of cultural history and an inspiring paean to the American artistic spirit. As vital and entertaining as the creators and work it celebrates." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)