By Philip F. Gura
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 330 pages, $30.00
Truth’s Ragged Edge: The Rise of the American Novel explores the sordid and convoluted history of America through the eyes of its most observant citizens; the writers. Beginning in the late 18th century, author Philip F. Gura uses both popular and lesser-known works by American writers to illustrate the tumultuous nature of America’s formative years. By drawing parallels between published works and national change, Gura has crafted an interesting read.
It comes as no surprise, while reading this book, that author Philip F. Gura is a professor of American literature and culture. Every page is packed with information. Don’t think for a minute this book reads like a boring history book though; nothing could be farther from the truth. By deftly combining historical facts with lyrical writing and a narrative arc, Gura has embodied the essence of narrative nonfiction.
Truth’s Ragged Edge: The Rise of the American Novel is first and foremost an enjoyable book to read, but the level of information that Gura shares on every page is what will keep readers truly hooked.
Reviewed by Andrew Keyser