The Growth and Collapse of One American Nation received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.
Following find an interview with author Donald J Fraser.
What is the name of the book and when was it published?
The book is entitled The Growth and Collapse of One American Nation: The Early Republic. It was published in January 2020.
What’s the book’s first line?
“The first shot was fired in the early morning hours just before dawn.”
What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.
The underlying theme of the book is about American identity. It builds on the work that I did in my first book, The Emergence of One American Nation, where I wrote about what made us one nation. In this book, I look more closely at two competing visions of what makes us Americans. One is tied to a traditional racial or ethnic view, ethnonationalism for short. The other is that America is an idea, as expressed in Jefferson’s natural rights section of the Declaration of Independence, which Gunnar Myrdal called the American Creed.
What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?
This is the second volume of the American history series. I wanted to continue the story of American history after the Constitution, to see how the nation first grew and then why it collapsed with the Civil War. It was a period I knew very little about, and some academics have scoffed at the period as an intellectual desert. I found just the opposite. I also think the period relates well to today, especially over the issue of who can be an American. Donald Trump got elected in 2016 in large part due to his appeal to ethnonationalism, to white grievances. The battles our ancestors fought during the period from 1790 to 1861 have a strong resonance today.
What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?
I have received numerous comments that the book is very readable. Here are a couple of examples:
“Fraser’s behind-the-scenes portraits of such players as Jefferson, Hamilton, Jackson, and Lincoln will make the book more than just history for readers who appreciate facts delivered in a personal and, at times, cinematic manner. Given the situations, and the protagonists, the tale Fraser is telling is riveting throughout.” Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★★
Fraser’s readable style and scholarship, as exhibited by the copious primary and secondary sources sites, give the volume its vigor…Fraser reminds us that American unity is not certain, but depends on shared ideals that are always contested.” Indie Reader 4.5 stars
It also provides a significant amount of information about the early years of our republic, and the men that formed it, both those that are well known and those less well known. And finally, it is really relevant to the times in which we live.
When did you first decide to become an author?
I have enjoyed writing since I was in grade school. In high school, I was the editor of our student newspaper, and history was my favorite subject. I considered becoming a journalist but then fell in love with political science in college and went to work in government. I wrote my first book in part due to a crisis in my career and have never regretted the decision.
What do you do for work when you’re not writing?
I spent my career working in city government, either as a staff person or as a consultant. I continue to do consulting work on a part time basis.
What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?
The best is that you can choose your own path as an indie without having a publishing house or agent telling you what to write about. The hardest part is a lack of recognition, of having difficulty selling books when you are an unknown author without the support of a publisher.
Would you go tradition if a publisher came calling? If so, why?
Yes, absolutely. I have tried to get published through a publishing house and have had no success. I think that the work I do is really important and would help to better educate the public on our history and help to make us better citizens. Given the opportunity, I would certainly go the traditional route.
Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?
Its hard to limit myself to just one. I greatly admire and try to pattern my writing from those authors that are producing highly readable narrative history. I include in this group Jon Meacham, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and David McCullough, among others.