Genus Americanus
download cover image ►

Genus Americanus

Hitting the Road in Search of America’s Identity

Title Details

Pages: 360

Illustrations: 46 b&w photos

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 03/01/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6705-7

List Price: $26.95


Pub Date: 10/25/2020

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5800-0

List Price: $34.95


Pub Date: 10/25/2020

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5801-7

List Price: $34.95

Genus Americanus

Hitting the Road in Search of America’s Identity

Skip to

  • Description
  • Awards

A seventy-year-old Northwestern journalism professor, Loren Ghiglione, and two twenty-something Northwestern journalism students, Alyssa Karas and Dan Tham, climbed into a minivan and embarked on a three-month, twenty-eight state, 14,063-mile road trip in search of America’s identity. After interviewing 150 Americans about contemporary identity issues, they wrote this book, which is part oral history, part shoe-leather reporting, part search for America’s future, part memoir, and part travel journal.

On their journey they retraced Mark Twain’s travels across America—from Hannibal, Missouri, to Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Seattle. They hoped Twain’s insights into the late nineteenth-century soul of America would help them understand the America of today and the ways that our cultural fabric has shifted.

Their interviews focused on issues of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and immigration status. The timely trip occurred as the United States was poised to replace president Barack Obama, an icon of multiculturalism and inclusion, with Donald Trump, whose white-identity agenda promoted exclusion and division. What they learned along the way paints an engaging portrait of the country during this crucial moment of ideological and political upheaval.


Excellence in Book Writing Award, Association of LGBTQ Journalists


Carey McWilliams Award, American Political Science Association

About the Author/Editor

Loren Ghiglione (Author)
LOREN GHIGLIONE is a veteran of a half century in journalism and journalism education and professor emeritus of journalism at Northwestern University. He owned and edited the Southbridge Evening News and ran its parent company, Worcester County Newspapers, for twenty-six years. He also served as a four-time Pulitzer Prize juror, guest curator of a 1990 Library of Congress exhibit and president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. The author or editor of nine books, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Alyssa Karas (Author)
ALYSSA KARAS is the global director of audience development at Vanity Fair.

Dan Tham (Author)
DAN THAM has served as a producer at CNN International. He is currently working on his first feature-length documentary.