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

3.6 avg rating
( 252 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780312426422: The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

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.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

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

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Prologue NEW YORK, WASHINGTON, D.C., PENNSYLVANIA
 
These are the voices I found when, a few days after terrorists attacked American cities, I was asked to write about what happened. It seemed presumptuous to say anything, and in any case I had nothing to say. I listened instead.
 
“Where is the building? Did it fall down? Where is it?”
 
—Joe Disordo, on the collapse of Two World Trade Center, describing his escape from One World Trade Center, New York Times, 16 September 2001
 
***
 
Looking down they could see the last convulsions: the lights of the cars were darting through the streets, like animals trapped in a maze, frantically seeking an exit, the bridges were jammed with cars, the approaches to the bridges were veins of massed headlights, glittering bottlenecks stopping all motion, and the desperate screaming of sirens reached faintly to the height of the plane . . .
 
            The plane was above the peaks of the skyscrapers when suddenly, with the abruptness of a shudder, as if the ground had parted to engulf it, the city disappeared from the face of the earth. It took them a moment to realize that the panic had reached the power stations—and that the lights of New York had gone out.
 
—Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957
 
Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon. The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them.
 
            I say “I” even though I didn’t actually bomb the Pentagon—we bombed it, in the sense that Weathermen organized and claimed it . . .
 
            Some details cannot be told. Some friends and comrades have been in prison for decades; others, including Bernadine, spent months and months locked up for refusing to talk or give handwriting samples to federal grand juries. Consequences are real for people, and that’s part of this story, too. But the government was dead wrong, and we were right. In our conflict we don’t talk; we don’t tell. We never confess.
 
            When activists were paraded before grand juries, asked to name names, to humiliate themselves and to participate in destroying the movement, most refused and went to jail rather than say a word. Outside they told the press, I didn’t do it, but I dug it. I recall John Brown’s strategy over a century ago—he shot all the members of the grand jury investigating his activities in Kansas.
 
—Bill Ayers, Fugitive Days, September 2001
 
“You don’t know where she is?” I asked again. He shrugged again, and I said, “OK.” I let the automatic dangle from my hand as I waited for the sound of a jet making its final approach over the motel. “Last chance,” I said before the noise got too loud for him to hear. He shrugged again. “You know I’m not going to kill you, don’t you?” I said. He shook his head, but his eyes smiled. He might be a piece of shit but Jackson had some balls on him. Either that or he was more frightened of his business associates than he was of me. That was a real mistake on his part. When the landing jet swept over the motel, I leaned down and pumped two rounds into his right foot.
 
            “You didn’t have to shoot him twice,” Trahearne said.
 
            “Once to get his attention,” I said, “and once to let him know I was serious.”
 
—James Crumley, The Last Good Kiss, 1978
 
***
 
The terrorist attacks were major atrocities. In scale, they may not reach the level of many others—for example, Clinton’s 1998 bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and killing unknown numbers of people.
 
—Noam Chomsky, 11 September 2001
 
Over the years since the seizure of the American embassy in Tehran in 1979, the [American] public has become tolerably familiar with the idea that there are Middle Easterners of various shades and stripes who do not like them . . .
 
            With cell phones still bleeping piteously from under the rubble, it probably seems indecent to most people to ask if the United States has ever done anything to attract such awful hatred.
 
—Christopher Hitchens, Guardian (London), 13 September 2001
 
What we saw on Tuesday, terrible as it is, could be minuscule if, in fact, God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve . . . The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy forty million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, the abortionists, the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the A.C.L.U., People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, “You helped this happen.”
 
—The Reverend Jerry Falwell, The 700 Club, 13 September 2001
 
The responsibility for violence lies with those who perpetrate it.
 
—Salman Rushdie, In Good Faith, 1990
 
***
 
The water was rising, got up in my bed
 
Lord, the water was rolling, got up to my bed
 
I thought I would take a trip, Lord, out on the days I slept.
 
—Charley Patton, “High Water Everywhere Part II,” 1929
 
I was stranded in Chicago until late last night. On the runway in Newark on Monday at 8 a.m.—that was OK by one day; on the runway at O’Hare on Tuesday at 8.30—that wasn’t so great. The airport shut down, and we were left to make our way into a chaotic Chicago of semi-evacuation. After three days and five plane reservations cancelled, I finally found a car and drove home. Eight hundred miles of flags, licenses from everywhere and bumper stickers like MY PRESIDENT IS CHARLTON HESTON and HOW’S MY DRIVING / DIAL 1-800-EAT-SHIT. With my finger on the pulse of the nation, I pulled in about 10 p.m.
 
—Hal Foster, Princeton, New Jersey, e-mail, 15 September 2001
 
For the first time in America, except during the Civil War and the World War, people were afraid to say whatever came to their tongues. On the streets, on trains, at theaters, men looked about to see who might be listening before they dared so much as say there was a drought in the West, for someone might suppose they were blaming the drought on the Chief! . . .
 
            Every moment everyone felt fear, nameless and omnipresent. They were as jumpy as men in a plague district. Any sudden sound, any unexplained footstep, any unfamiliar script on an envelope, made them startle; and for months they never felt secure enough to let themselves go, in complete sleep.
 
—Sinclair Lewis, It Can’t Happen Here, 1935
 
Gloom and sadness and bereavement just hang in the air. My local firemen were killed, and the whole area is plastered with missing-people flyers: someone&

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780374104382: The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0374104387 ISBN 13:  9780374104382
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006
Hardcover

9780571221561: The Shape of Things to Come

Faber ..., 2006
Hardcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Marcus, Greil
Published by Picador
ISBN 10: 0312426429 ISBN 13: 9780312426422
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 15
Seller:
Lakeside Books
(Benton Harbor, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Picador. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0312426429 BRAND NEW, GIFT QUALITY! NOT OVERSTOCKS OR MARKED UP REMAINDERS! DIRECT FROM THE PUBLISHER!|1. Seller Inventory # OTF-S-9780312426422

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 14.33
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

Marcus, Greil
Published by Picador USA 8/21/2007 (2007)
ISBN 10: 0312426429 ISBN 13: 9780312426422
New Paperback or Softback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
BargainBookStores
(Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Picador USA 8/21/2007, 2007. Paperback or Softback. Condition: New. The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice. Book. Seller Inventory # BBS-9780312426422

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 18.69
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

Marcus, Greil
Published by Picador (2018)
ISBN 10: 0312426429 ISBN 13: 9780312426422
New Paperback Quantity Available: 20
Print on Demand
Seller:
Murray Media
(NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Picador, 2018. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used! This item is printed on demand. Seller Inventory # 0312426429

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 18.74
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

GREIL MARCUS
Published by Picador August 2007 (2007)
ISBN 10: 0312426429 ISBN 13: 9780312426422
New Paper Back Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Eighth Day Books, LLC
(Wichita, KS, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Picador August 2007, 2007. Paper Back. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 20070924123316

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 15.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

Greil, Marcus
Published by PICADOR (2007)
ISBN 10: 0312426429 ISBN 13: 9780312426422
New Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller:
Pbshop
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description PICADOR, 2007. PAP. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IQ-9780312426422

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 15.70
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

6.

Marcus Greil
Published by St Martin's Press, United States (2007)
ISBN 10: 0312426429 ISBN 13: 9780312426422
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description St Martin's Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. A New York Times Book Review Editors' ChoiceA San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the YearA London Times Literary Supplement Best Book of the YearIn 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. Seller Inventory # APC9780312426422

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 19.87
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

7.

Marcus Greil
Published by St Martin's Press, United States (2007)
ISBN 10: 0312426429 ISBN 13: 9780312426422
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description St Martin's Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. A New York Times Book Review Editors' ChoiceA San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the YearA London Times Literary Supplement Best Book of the YearIn 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. Seller Inventory # BZE9780312426422

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 19.97
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

8.

Marcus, Greil.
Published by Picador, New York (2007)
ISBN 10: 0312426429 ISBN 13: 9780312426422
New Softcover Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Ad Infinitum Books
(Mount Vernon, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Picador, New York, 2007. Softcover. Condition: New. 336 pages. Softcover. New book. CULTURAL HISTORY. Traces America's fable of self-invention from its earliest Puritan beginnings to its succesive retellings in the work of contemporary artists as diverse as Philip Roth and David Lynch. While artists rather than politicians struggle to define what the natioin is and what it is for, Marcus opens up the ferment of America as an idea and as a story. Includes an Index. "Greil Marcus is the Lew Archer of cultural criticism: clear-eyed, harheaded, wearing his theory in a shoulder holster, willing to go anywhere and question everything, equally at ease in the mansions and the mean streets of literature, art, and music, haunted by the American past but absolutely engaged by our present as he relentlessly ferrets out and lays bare the secret connections and shared narratives among seemingly disparate characters and crimes." - Michael Chabon (Key Words: Cultural Studies, Greil Marcus, Cultural History, John Wintrop, Twin Peaks, John Dos Passos, Philip Roth, Puritans, Abraham Lincoln, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Barry Gifford, Bob Dylan, Bill Clinto, Patricia Arquette). book. Seller Inventory # 71291X1

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 15.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

9.

Marcus Greil
Published by St Martin's Press, United States (2007)
ISBN 10: 0312426429 ISBN 13: 9780312426422
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description St Martin's Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. A New York Times Book Review Editors' ChoiceA San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the YearA London Times Literary Supplement Best Book of the YearIn 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. Seller Inventory # APC9780312426422

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 20.31
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

10.

Greil Marcus
Published by Picador
ISBN 10: 0312426429 ISBN 13: 9780312426422
New Paperback Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
BuySomeBooks
(Las Vegas, NV, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Picador. Paperback. Condition: New. 336 pages. Dimensions: 8.1in. x 5.5in. x 1.0in.A New York Times Book Review Editors ChoiceA San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the YearA London Times Literary Supplement Best Book of the YearIn this exhilarating and kaleidoscopic investigation of American identity, Greil Marcus traces the nations 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 nations prophetic voice, the voice that calls Americas 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. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780312426422

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 22.77
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book