What They Saw in America: Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber, G. K. Chesterton, and Sayyid Qutb

What They Saw in America: Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber, G. K. Chesterton, and Sayyid Qutb

By: James L. Nolan (author)Paperback

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Grounded in the stories of their actual visits, What They Saw in America takes the reader through the journeys of four distinguished, yet very different foreign visitors - Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber, G. K. Chesterton and Sayyid Qutb - who traveled to the United States between 1830 and 1950. The comparative insights of these important outside observers (from both European and Middle Eastern countries) encourage sober reflection on a number of features of American culture that have persisted over time - individualism and conformism, the unique relationship between religion and capitalism, indifference toward nature, voluntarism, attitudes toward race, and imperialistic tendencies. Listening to these travelers' views, both the ambivalent and even the more unequivocal, can help Americans better understand themselves, more fully empathize with the values of other cultures, and more deeply comprehend how the United States is perceived from the outside.

About Author

James L. Nolan, Jr is a Professor of Sociology at Williams College, Massachusetts. His teaching and research interests fall in the general areas of law and society, culture, technology and social change, and historical comparative sociology. His previous books include Legal Accents, Legal Borrowing: The International Problem-Solving Court Movement (2009), Reinventing Justice: The American Drug Court Movement (2001), and The Therapeutic State: Justifying Government at Century's End (1998). He is the recipient of several grants and awards including National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and a Fulbright scholarship. He has held visiting fellowships at the University of Oxford, Loughborough University, and the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.


1. Introduction; 2. Pride, patriotism, and the mercantilist spirit: Tocqueville and Beaumont discover America; 3. Tocqueville and the quandary of American democracy; 4. Agrarianism, race, and the end of romanticism: Weber in early twentieth-century America; 5. Weber on sects, schools, and the spirit of capitalism; 6. A new Martin Chuzzlewit: Chesterton on main street; 7. Chestertonian distributism and the democratic ideal; 8. From Musha to New York: Qutb encounters American jahiliyya; 9. Qutb's 'inquiring eyes' in Colorado and California; 10. Conclusion.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781316601594
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 306
  • ID: 9781316601594
  • weight: 430
  • ISBN10: 1316601595

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