The Last American (novel)

The Last American (novel)

"The Last American" is a short future history novel by John Ames Mitchell (1845 - 1918).

First published in 1889, it is the fictional journal of Persian admiral Khan-Li, who in 2951 rediscovers North America by sailing across the Atlantic. The world has been devastated, and North America virtually wiped out by climatic changes which had by then reversed to earlier conditions. The Persians know about America, but civilization is only just recovering technologically (to the level of 1889). The book is on the one hand a satirical look at United States ways and customs as reconstructed from the ruins and their own spotty histories by the Persians (whose names are all puns). On the other hand it seems to be a spoof of the archaeological discoveries that were beginning to be made at the time.

The 1893 edition is a small hardcover book with 78 numbered pages. The cover is blue and the front is an illustration of the Persians' small ship sailing into the remains of New York's harbor near the Statue of Liberty. Illustrations are etchings and consist of decorative pictures in the text, half page, and full page pictures relating to the text. One shows a reconstructed street scene with "costumes and manner of riding...taken from metal plates now in the museum at Teheran" -- clearly meaning newspaper advertisements from a print shop. Another, "The Wooden God", is a cigar store Indian; "The Ruins of the Great Temple" shows a devastated US Capitol.

External links

*gutenberg|no=7485|name=The Last American


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