George Hawkey writes to me:
I know you’ve posted “best books” queries on the site before, so here goes. Do you have any input on the best books about American History and Culture, but written from a non-American point-of-view?
Obviously Tocqueville, and there’s a whole raft of Canadian published books on the US culture as well. What I’m looking for is more like: what would “The Best and the Brightest” be if it were written by a Japanese journalist. Or what if Taylor Branch’s “Parting the Waters” trilogy was written by a Russian sociologist? “The World Is Flat” but written about the US by an Indian?
In many cases, I’m guessing these texts are not yet or will never be translated, but I’m still interested in finding greater perspective on the US than what’s provided by the traditional pundits, authors and historians.
I’ll recommend these five works of fiction, starting with Nabokov and how about Ayn Rand as well? The comments are open for your further suggestions…