The Age of American Unreason

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Feb 12, 2008 - Political Science - 384 pages
41 Reviews

A cultural history of the last forty years, The Age of American Unreason focuses on the convergence of social forces—usually treated as separate entities—that has created a perfect storm of anti-rationalism. These include the upsurge of religious fundamentalism, with more political power today than ever before; the failure of public education to create an informed citizenry; and the triumph of video over print culture. Sparing neither the right nor the left, Jacoby asserts that Americans today have embraced a universe of “junk thought” that makes almost no effort to separate fact from opinion.

 

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User Review  - jimocracy - LibraryThing

I don't disagree with the author on most issues but she wrote this in a such a tedious way that I often lost track of the point she was trying to make. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - eaterofwords - LibraryThing

I loved this book: it has earned a bookplate and a permanent spot on my overly crowded shelves. That said, Jacoby writes much more persuasively when she's discussing ignorance in politics and faith ... Read full review

Contents

Just Us Folks
3
Intellect and Ignorance
31
three Social Pseudoscience in the Morning
61
four Reds Pinkos Fellow Travelers
82
Youth Culture and Celebrity Culture
163
eight The New OldTime Religion
183
nine Junk Thought
210
Defining Dumbness Downward
279
conclusion Cultural Conservation
307
Notes
319
Selected Bibliography
329
Index
335
Copyright

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Page 323 - Is it not the chief disgrace in the world not to be a unit, not to be reckoned one character, not to yield that peculiar fruit; which each man was created to bear; but to be reckoned in the gross, in the hundred, or the thousand, of the party, the section, to which we belong; and our opinion predicted geographically, as the north, or the south?
Page 11 - A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

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About the author (2008)

SUSAN JACOBY is the author of eleven previous books, including Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism and Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion. Her articles have appeared frequently in the op-ed pages of The New York Times and in forums that include The American Prospect, Dissent,and The Daily Beast. She lives in New York City. For more information, visit www.susanjacoby.com.

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