On January 6, 2021, many Americans were horrified to see images of men and women protesting the results of the 2020 presidential election by storming the U.S. Capitol with Confederate flags and other symbols of white supremacy. But if they had read Greg Grandin’s book about American exceptionalism, they would have recognized these actions as yet one more manifestation of the nation’s long history of violence, racism, and reactionary politics. Grandin wrote his sweeping survey of the myth of the frontier idea before the capitol insurrection, but he might have anticipated it.

The End of the Myth takes readers through the violent history of the United States and its dependency on opened frontiers and closed borders, from its founding through the 2016 election. It builds from Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier thesis, advanced at the end of the nineteenth century, and argues that the United States has controlled social ferment through...

You do not currently have access to this content.