AMERICAN CULTURAL BAGGAGE

Contemporary world issues

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Subtitled “How to recognize it ( American Cultural Baggage) and deal with it”, this book is about “the ten commandments of American Culture”.  It seeks to answer questions concerning the American tendency to appear to be doing three things at once, the enslavement to time, and what is the single, most important priority in American life.  One reviewer described the book as ‘a special kind of mirror, enabling readers to see beneath the behavioral façade of American Culture”.  The book is especially helpful to non Americans and for Americans who read it and are instructed by it, it may serve as a help to the quest for that humility that come from a more profound self understanding.  This book should be required reading for every American going over seas and also for everyone else interested in understand the American world view.  It contains a good deal of humor and insight and clearly explains cultural values through reflecting on common sayings and proverbs and is a great teaching tool.  The author worked in Africa for many years and has observed first hand the dynamics of relationships between Americans and peoples of other cultures.  Nussbaum believes that as long as you live in the United States you can get along with being conscious of your own culture, but when you go into a different culture the American assumptions simply do not work well.  The books aims to open American eyes to their own culture and concedes that most Americans do not even know that their eyes are closed.  The book may well jar some into serious reflection if they allow its teaching to be taken seriously. There are wide ranging biases in the American outlook upon life and perhaps many do not wish to adjust and change.  Non- Americans will themselves be challenged to consider their own cultures also and to enter in to a new understanding of that which makes up the American psyche.  The book does not set out to be a ‘Christian book’ but all Christians wishing to understand the world in which they live will benefit from reading it. 

Last modified: May 14, 2012

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