A conversation with the author…

Friends, I’ve done my first interview in connection with The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood, and it’s a very good thing that it was conducted by my friend and Vatican Radio colleague, Charles Collins (that’s the undersigned in the picture, at my desk, most of the clutter in, on and around which is mercifully obscured by, well, me).

Altieri SoN

I hope I do not flatter myself too much if I say that there were a couple of bright moments. Here is one of my favorites:

What was the most challenging part of writing the book?

“First, that I had to explain and ‘sell’ America to an audience of professional European academics. The book is essentially my PhD dissertation, which I did at the Pontifical Gregorian University. That part of the project consisted primarily in developing a constant awareness of my own, and my audience’s often uncritically accepted and even unconsciously operative presuppositions about a whole host of things. Then, I was constantly being made aware of what America ‘looks like’ from the outside, and I started developing the idea that I would have to do justice to that perception – to take it seriously, as though there really was something my European friends and colleagues could see, that I couldn’t – and then I had to ‘translate’ that perspective into something that would be intelligible from within and from without.”

You can read more at the link: New book explores intellectual, religious origins of U.S.


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