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The Age of American Unreason
The Age of American Unreason
The Age of American Unreason
Audiobook14 hours

The Age of American Unreason

Written by Susan Jacoby

Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

3.5/5

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About this audiobook

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, Jacoby surveys an antirationalist 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 antirationalism. 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.
LanguageEnglish
PublisherTantor Audio
Release dateMay 15, 2008
ISBN9781400177325
The Age of American Unreason

Reviews for The Age of American Unreason

Rating: 3.675675675675676 out of 5 stars
3.5/5

37 ratings36 reviews

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This book is a very good entry into the critical thinking genre, looking specifically at America and the current anti-intellectual currents that reject logic and reason in favor of emotionally charged, fuzzy, feel good argumentation. This book should be in every library around the country.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    A scathing and all too accurate look at the culture of anti-intellectualism that abounds in contemporary America.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    A friend recommended this book, and I both enjoyed it and also got upset by it. Comforting to know that anti-intellectualism is not a new trend, but something that has been going on in this country since the beginning. I just wish there were ideas for how we combat the problem, especially as related to politics and picking politicians we would "like to have a beer with" over people with great minds and ideas. How many people who talk about what the Constitution says or what the Bible says really know those documents? We seem to be a soundbite nation, in which uninformed opinions are ok, especially if based on some kernel of truth. A good read, and I learned some things I definitely missed in my hears of history classes.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    I found her examination of anti-intellectualism in America informative and persuasive, but she is preaching to the choir. Her overuse of the term "middlebrow" comes off as snobbish, and her indictment of electronic media is light on fact and heavy on personal grievance. These chapters are heavy slogging. The explosion of e-book reading shortly after publication dents her thesis. Another contrary data point: I am told that one of my first spoken words was "Mo", referring to then-ubiquitous TV personality Garry Moore. So you know that I watched beaucoup TV during my childhood. Today, I do a website about local TV. Yet, I have read a huge number of books in my lifetime, including this one.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This book is a very good entry into the critical thinking genre, looking specifically at America and the current anti-intellectual currents that reject logic and reason in favor of emotionally charged, fuzzy, feel good argumentation. This book should be in every library around the country.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    This books is a survey of anti-intellectualism in America. Jacoby traces the roots of this aspect of American culture and illustrates how it continues. It is especially frightening that ignorance, illogic and emotionalism have managed to be elevated to virtues in popular culture. Effective self-governance in a democracy depends on an educated population capable of making logical decisions based on dispassionate evaluations of evidence, so the anti-rational trends Jacoby describes threaten the basic foundations of a participatory democracy.