The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics

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W. W. Norton & Company, Sep 17, 1991 - History - 591 pages

"A major and challenging work. . . . Provocative, and certain to be controversial. . . . Will add important new dimension to the continuing debate on the decline of liberalism." —William Julius Wilson, New York Times Book Review

Can we continue to believe in progress? In this sobering analysis of the Western human condition, Christopher Lasch seeks the answer in a history of the struggle between two ideas: one is the idea of progress - an idea driven by the conviction that human desire is insatiable and requires ever larger production forces. Opposing this materialist view is the idea that condemns a boundless appetite for more and better goods and distrusts "improvements" that only feed desire. Tracing the opposition to the idea of progress from Rousseau through Montesquieu to Carlyle, Max Weber and G.D.H. Cole, Lasch finds much that is desirable in a turn toward moral conservatism, toward a lower-middle-class culture that features egalitarianism, workmanship and loyalty, and recognizes the danger of resentment of the material goods of others.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mdobe - LibraryThing

This section from Lasch's book serves as an excellent historiographical orientation, though with a very obvious bent of its own. The general project of the book is, according to Benjamin DeMott, "the ... Read full review

The true and only heaven: progress and its critics

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Lasch ( The Culture of Narcissism , LJ 11/15/78) condemns those on both the right and left who continue to believe in progress, i.e., the idea that the American economy can continue to grow ... Read full review

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About the author (1991)

Christopher Lasch (1932–1994), professor of history at the University of Rochester, wrote, among many other works, The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics and the best-selling Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy.

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