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American Notes

American Notes by Rudyard Kipling
By: (1865-1936)

American Notes by Rudyard Kipling is a fascinating book that provides a unique insight into American society in the late 19th century. Kipling's observations as a British traveler offer a fresh perspective on the cultural differences between America and Europe.

The book is filled with vivid descriptions of the people Kipling encounters during his journey, from wealthy businessmen to humble farmers. His observations on American politics, social norms, and patriotism are thought-provoking and still resonate today.

One of the most interesting aspects of American Notes is Kipling's reflections on the American spirit and character. He portrays Americans as fiercely independent and proud, yet also deeply divided by racial and class differences. Kipling's critiques of American society are sometimes harsh, but they are always insightful and thought-provoking.

Overall, American Notes is a captivating read that offers a unique perspective on America during a time of great change. Whether you are a history buff or simply interested in learning more about American culture, this book is a must-read.

Book Description:

In American Notes, Rudyard Kipling, the Nobel Prize-winning author of the Jungle Book, visits the USA. As the travel-diary of an Anglo-Indian Imperialist visiting the USA, these American Notes offer an interesting view of America in the 1880s.

Kipling affects a wide-eyed innocence, and expresses astonishment at features of American life that differ from his own, not least the freedom (and attraction) of American women. However, he scorns the political machines that made a mockery of American democracy, and while exhibiting the racist attitudes that made him controversial in the 20th century concludes “It is not good to be a negro in the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

G. A. England of Harvard University (letter to The New York Times 10/11/1902) wrote: “To the American temperament, the gentleman who throws stones while himself living in a glass house cannot fail to be amusing; the more so if, as in Mr Kipling’s case, he appears to be in a state of maiden innocence regarding the structure of his own domicile.”

Summary by Tim Bulkeley with Quotations from the Gutenberg edition of American Notes and the online version of The New York Times of October 11th 1902.

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