Independence Day, Apart From the Fireworks

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Pete Souza, The White House, Getty Images

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Pete Souza, The White House, Getty Images

Marveling at pyrotechnic spectacles and savoring the meaty odors wafting from our barbecue pits, Americans might easily overlook that the Fourth of July is as much a national literary occasion as it is a national political celebration. American literature, in fact, provides a needed antidote to the more familiar oratorical zeal that marks the day's celebrations. The surge of patriotism over the past 10 months may make the measured reflections on independence by the major writers in our