The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice

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Macmillan, 2007 M08 21 - 324 pages

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year

A London Times Literary Supplement Best Book of the Year

In this exhilarating and kaleidoscopic investigation of American identity, Greil Marcus traces the nation's fable of self invention from its earliest Puritan beginnings to its successive retellings in the work of diverse contemporary artists. Marcus considers the birth of America as a New Jerusalem, a place of promises so vast that they could only be betrayed--and how from that betrayal emerged the nation's prophetic voice, the voice that calls America's citizens to self-judgment. Over the course of our history, Marcus finds that the prophetic voice has sounded less and less in the political realm--where it can be heard in the words of John Winthrop, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr.--and more in the work of individual artists, including Philip Roth, David Lynch, Sinclair Lewis, John Dos Passos, David Thomas of Pere Ubu, Allen Ginsberg, the band Heavens to Betsy, Bill Pullman, and Sheryl Lee.

In The Shape of Things to Come, the past and the present merge in the most extraordinary and surprising ways. Greil Marcus presents a stirring, and frightening, portrait of our country, our ideals, and ourselves.

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THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME: Prophecy and the American Voice

User Review  - Kirkus

Prophets are among us, declares Marcus (Like a Rolling Stone, 2005, etc.): singing and making films, writing novels and poetry. But we rarely listen to them until it's too late.The noted cultural ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gregtmills - LibraryThing

At first blush, pop Zarathustra Greil Marcus's latest book, The Shape of Things to Come, looks like something cooked up by a Sarah Lawrence undergrad in an end-of-term panic. According to Marcus ... Read full review


New York Washington D C Pennsylvania
Massachusetts Washington D C
Philip Roth and the Lost Republic
Bill Pullmans Face
Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer
David Thomas

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About the author (2007)

Greil Marcus is the author of nine previous books, including Lipstick Traces, Mystery Train, and The Dustbin of History. He lives in Berkeley, California.

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