Age of Reason and
the Enlightenment. It didn’t stick. Now we’re in the Information
Age, but it seems more like Gutenberg on speed. We can do better.
project, A Country without Memory
began on a winter road trip in 2007.
Lesage spent a month driving from Seattle to the East Coast, seeking
sites of historical significance. He selected places such as those
related to John Brown, Jefferson and Thoreau, noting that history is
most often distorted in the realm of racial relations. He uncovers some
little known history, and brings a poetic sensibility to historical
As a book, A Country without Memory is now a
literary-historical travelogue of some 270 pages.
From Chapter 7:
remain on the surface of things. Significance lurks out of
sight, a little deeper. . . . Florida swarms with alligators, yet I
went swimming there — in daylight, in clear-water springs. In Florida,
one doesn’t swim in a black-water river at night. In much of America,
waters are muddy, opaque. Every place I visit has a hidden story,
lurking in the depths. I find some of them. We remain ignorant at our
peril, because some of these stories will bite.
history non-sequentially, in the order he encountered stories on the
road. With this geographic presentation, he often brings stories to
life by setting them on
a landscape. Lesage analyzes a broad spectrum of history in asking
what it means to be American. In examining the roots of racism and
war, he fosters an understanding of how highly propagandized history
Lincoln's advice, Lesage returns to Seattle with a better understanding
of “where we are and whither we are tending,” arriving with a better
idea of “what to do and how to do it.” Lesage improved his skills in
evaluating the quality and significance of historical details — skills
needed in a possible transformation of the Information Age into