Historian Simon Schama offers an essential historical perspective on the 2008 presidential election and its importance for reclaiming America's original ideal. Cultural hostilities more irreconcilable than any since the Civil War have divided America in two. In November 2008, the American people elected a new president, feeling more anxious about the future of the nation than at any time since Watergate. Our omnipotent military, the cornucopia of material comforts available, the security of our borders, and the global economy can no longer be taken for granted. Schama takes a long look at the multiple crises besetting the United States and asks how these problems look in the mirror of time. In four crucial debates--on wars, religion, race and immigration, and the relationship between natural resources and prosperity--Schama looks back to find lost insights into the future.--From publisher description.