The Age of American Unreason

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Feb 12, 2008 - History - 356 pages
57 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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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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

Review: The Age of American Unreason

User Review  - Clif - Goodreads

You know the old saying - better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it. It's as true as ever but these days Americans are finding it both hard to keep the mouth ... 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 24 - And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth, and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power : and it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
Page 15 - We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will -we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.
Page 24 - And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace ; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth : and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
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 14 - Then you should say what you mean," the March Hare went on. "I do," Alice hastily replied; "at least— at least I mean what I say — that's the same thing, you know." "Not the same thing a bit,
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.

References to this book

About the author (2008)

Susan Jacoby is the author of seven previous books, most recently Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, which was named a Notable Book of 2004 by the Washington Post and The Times Literary Supplement. She lives in New York City.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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