Suzy Hansen’s book Notes on a Foreign Country is the diary of someone going through the process of gaining the world by losing their religion, the religion of U.S. Exceptionalism. She begins as an ordinary U.S. resident, not believing anything that you would find unusual, but assuming all the certifiably insane things you assume are not even questionable:
- The United States is the best place to live.
- Its government generally means well.
- It seeks to help the rest of the world whose problems it has had little to do with creating.
- History doesn’t matter much.
- The other 96% are all a bit backward.
Hansen’s book, focused on her experience living in Istanbul, is a powerful case for living abroad and for reshaping U.S. education and culture