Trial Balance: The Education of An American

By Alan Valentine | Go to book overview

I
Tribal Origins

ANGUS entered the world almost simultaneously with the twentieth century, though somewhat less auspiciously. He apparently did not want to be a child of the century, and declared immediately a reluctance to accept its ways. Had he known what it would prove to be like he might have joined it even more ungraciously. It was only much later that he realized that being born in 1901 had given him at least a minor literary advantage-- the right to claim some identity between his personal experiences and the events of the nineteen hundreds.

Five decades do not give a man full objectivity on his youth, but they provide him with some perspective on the circumstances of his earlier years. A boy himself is not a judge of his environment; he grows like a vegetable, and is too busy drawing whatever nutriment the soil and climate of his origin offer to consider their fertility and beneficence. Only when he has started to go to seed does a man speculate on his reactions to his beginnings and his tribal culture. Even then his conclusions are likely to be tinctured with the rationalisms of egoism and the syrups of self-

-15-

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Trial Balance: The Education of An American
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface 7
  • Part 1 - Education By Plan 13
  • I - Tribal Origins 15
  • II - Initiations 34
  • III - The Pursuit of Praise 49
  • IV - Puritan's Progress 75
  • V - Exploration 100
  • VI - The Academic Mind 121
  • VII - Men of Science 144
  • Part 2 - Education By Accident 161
  • VIII - Dollar Diplomacy 163
  • IX - The Oriental Mind 183
  • X - Political Economics 202
  • XI - The Political Mind 218
  • XII - The Social Animal 239
  • XIII - Unity and Diversity 259
  • XIV - Angus Emeritus 280
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