The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things

Front Cover
Basic Books, 1999 - Social Science - 276 pages
127 Reviews
There has never been another era in modern history, even during wartime or the Great Depression, when so many people have feared so much. Three out of four Americans say they feel more fearful today then they did twenty years ago. The Culture of Fear describes the high costs of living in a fear-ridden environment where realism has become rarer than doors without deadbolts.Why do we have so many fears these days? Are we living in exceptionally dangerous times? To watch the news, you’d certainly think so, but Glassner demonstrates that it is our perception of danger that has increased, not the actual level of risk. The Culture of Fear is an expose of the people and organizations that manipulate our perceptions and profit from our fears: politicians who win elections by heightening concerns about crime and drug use even as rates for both are declining; advocacy groups that raise money by exaggerating the prevalence of particular diseases; TV newsmagazines that monger a new scare every week to garner ratings.Glassner spells out the prices we pay for social panics: the huge sums of money that go to waste on unnecessary programs and products as well as time and energy spent worrying about our fears.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things

User Review  - Frank Inserra - Goodreads

This is another book in a series of books that employs statistical realities to unspin the 21st century's loss of sleep over the prospect that some day its antiperspirant might stop working. Short and sweet. Read full review

Review: The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things

User Review  - Jchin - Goodreads

A very wide range of topics explored in Glassner's book, but I feel that the analysis was too brief and too understated. However, it is because of The Culture of Fear that other and more developed books in the same thread were written...such as Freakonomics and Tipping Point. Read full review

About the author (1999)

Barry Glassner is Professor of Sociology at the University of Southern California. He is the author of seven books, including Career Crash and Bodies. He has been quoted extensively or profiled in articles in dozens of newspapers and magazines. His own articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and The London Review of Books.

Bibliographic information