America's Dark History

The powerful Kentucky Cycle, disquieting to those who prefer patriotic pageantry, takes a scathing view of the national story

The logo for The Kentucky Cycle features a pioneer woman, jut-jawed and thick-necked, cradling a child in her arms, flanked by a blandly noble plowman and a grimacing boy brandishing a gun. Pay attention to the boy with the gun. While this nine-play, six-hour vision of the making of America hits all the traditional themes of patriotic pageantry, it sees the national character as violent, deceitful and cruel. Firearms or knives are used in seven of the plays. The other two practice violence of the soul -- a bankruptcy "trial" that turns a man into a serf on land he owned,...

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