The Age of American Unreason

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Pantheon Books, 2008 - History - 356 pages
17 Reviews
Combining historical analysis with contemporary observation, Susan Jacoby dissects a new American cultural phenomenon--one that is at odds with our heritage of Enlightenment reason and with modern, secular knowledge and science. With mordant wit, she surveys an anti-rationalist landscape extending from pop culture to a pseudo-intellectual universe of "junk thought." Disdain for logic and evidence defines a pervasive malaise fostered by the mass media, triumphalist religious fundamentalism, mediocre public education, a dearth of fair-minded public intellectuals on the right and the left, and, above all, a lazy and credulous public.

Jacoby offers an unsparing indictment of the American addiction to infotainment--from television to the Web--and cites this toxic dependency as the major element distinguishing our current age of unreason from earlier outbreaks of American anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism. With reading on the decline and scientific and historical illiteracy on the rise, an increasingly ignorant public square is dominated by debased media-driven language and received opinion.

At this critical political juncture, nothing could be more important than recognizing the "overarching crisis of memory and knowledge" described in this impassioned, tough-minded book, which challenges Americans to face the painful truth about what the flights from reason has cost us as individuals and as a nation.

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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

Review: The Age of American Unreason

User Review  - Scott Rhee - Goodreads

Society is going to Hell in a handbasket. That seems to be the general consensus regardless of one's political leaning. In Susan Jacoby's immensely fascinating book "The Age of American Unreason ... Read full review

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 Book World and The Times Literary Supplement. She lives in New York City.

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