Combining historical analysis with far-reaching contemporary observation, Susan Jacoby dissects a modern America at odds with its heritage of Enlightenment reason and with 21st century knowledge and science. With mordant wit, the author offers an unsparing indictment of the ways in which ‘dumbness’ and ‘junk thought’ have permeated throughout American society—both on the political right and the left. Much of Jacoby’s diagnosis of the ills of contemporary American culture is acutely relevant in the UK, but she also presents a fascinating and persuasive account of the reasons why, uniquely among western democracies, Darwinian evolution remains controversial in the United States. THE AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON is essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in the most powerful country in the world.
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.
•Author’s profile is rising in the UK after successful HB publication
•Jacoby’s witty, elegant, highly entertaining analysis of the roots of American ‘dumbing down’ and its pernicious consequences is equally relevant in the UK
•Three new chapters on Barack Obama and US election
‘Every sentence is well formed and well informed, literate and learned but also friendly and entertaining, never obscure or pretentious after the manner we have come to dread from earnest literary “intellectuals”. It is a luminously clear style that reaches out to welcome all who would share in her elevated vision of the way our culture could be – and is not.’
‘How did so many US citizens become so dumb, and so suspicious of intelligence? Susan Jacoby’s book The Age of American Unreason provides the fullest explanation I have read so far. She shows that the degradation of US politics results from a series of interlocking tragedies.’ George Monbiot,