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Tom Cronin Book Explores Political Literature

Professor of Political Science Tom Cronin has published a new book, “Imagining a Great Republic: Political Novels and the Idea of America.” The book explores American political literature, a departure from Cronin’s previous books on politics and the presidency.

In this book, the first comprehensive reading of dozens of American literary and social culture classics, Cronin, who has been called one of America’s most astute students of the American political tradition, tells the story of the American political experiment through the eyes of 40 major novelists, from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Hunter S. Thompson. They have been moral and civic consciousness-raisers as the country has navigated the successes and setbacks, and the slow awkward evolution of the American political experiment.

Constitutional democracy, equal justice for all, the American Dream, and American Exceptionalism are all part of the country’s narrative. But, as “Imagining a Great Republic” explains, there has never been just a single American narrative — the country has competing stories, just as there are competing American Dreams and competing ways of imagining a more perfect political union. Recognizing and understanding these competing values is a key part of being American.

Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for USA Today, writes “When American political reality is confounding — like, say, today — there can be enlightenment in fiction. Tom Cronin’s smart, engaging, expansive tour of political novels turns out to be timely in ways he couldn’t have foreseen. Cronin shows how storytellers have long served to remind us of what America is and what we want it to be.”

Cronin will give a short talk and conduct a book signing on Saturday, Dec. 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hooked on Books, 12 E. Bijou St., in Colorado Springs.