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Download Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy Audiobook, by Barbara Ehrenreich Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (356 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Barbara Ehrenreich Narrator: Pam Ward Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455186662
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From bestselling social commentator and cultural historian Barbara Ehrenreich comes this fascinating exploration of one of humanity’s oldest traditions: the celebration of communal joy, historically expressed in ecstatic revels of feasting, costuming, and dancing. Ehrenreich uncovers the origins of communal celebration in human biology and culture, showing that such mass festivities have been indigenous to the West since the ancient Greeks. Though suppressed by elites who fear the undermining of social hierarchies, outbreaks of group revelry still persist, Ehrenreich shows, pointing to the 1960s rock-and-roll rebellion and the more recent “carnivalization” of sports.

Original, exhilarating, and deeply optimistic, Dancing in the Streets shows that we are innately social beings, impelled to share our joy and thereby envision a peaceable future.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “What this timely book forcefully shows is that we are social beings with a potential for collective activity that is not always destructive of docile but may be powerfully restorative. With the world political scene in crisis and the planet profoundly in need of our remedial help, it is a message to be welcomed, pondered—and enjoyed.”

    Times (London)

  • “Ehrenreich’s absorbing study of collective celebration does the essential job of reminding us that humans are happiest when doings things together…Ehrenreich has an ability to write as though she has lived through the history she relates…She draws on research from prehistory, classical civilization, theology, anthropology, neuroscience, literature, and pop-cultural studies to present a convincing case for a return to spontaneous (but not too spontaneous) celebration…Once reconciled to the counterintuitive nature of spending hours alone reading a book that suggests you’d be better off dancing instead, time will fly and you’ll end it convinced that you’ve been in happy, wine-fuelled conversation with the author herself.”

    Daily Telegraph (London)

  • “Witty and quizzical, Ehrenreich covers her vast terrain comprehensively yet incisively, casting her net wide and landing delicious detail at the same time as more strictly germane manner.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Ehrenreich writes with grace and clarity in a fascinating, wide-ranging and generous account.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Pam Ward…[makes] listening a joyous experience that holds listeners’ attention.”

    AudioFile

  • “This book is remarkably well researched and detailed, and Ward reads it like a college professor in a clear, well modulated voice. Anyone interested in dance will be fascinated by the examples and stories.”

    Kliatt

  • “A serious look at communal celebrations, well documented and presented with assurance and flair.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elliot Sneider | 2/14/2014

    " I heard Bill Moyers talking with Barbara Ehrenreich on his weekly podcast. She is a journalist who writes in a conversational style and never pretends to be an ultra-expert. In this book she discusses collective joy - using words like ecstasy and carnival throughout history. Uses it to get into really interesting discussion about European imperialism and its interpretation of "primitive" celebrations, class issues with collective celebration, the difference between the ecstacy of Nazi propaganda events and other large gatherings, and the current ecstasy found at rock concerts and sporting events. AShe uses references to support all of her points, and freely offers up when she is not able to scientifically support her ideas but feels that they are right. It is a nice style to read, not overbearing, but well thought out and entertaining. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amelia | 2/7/2014

    " As usual, I wish there were half-stars because I would give this one 3.5 stars. It was interesting! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alyssa Blank | 1/28/2014

    " One of my favorite books, from one of my favorite authors. Social history of how and why we love to celebrate together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tara | 1/24/2014

    " I've only read part of this book, but it's an interesting subject and Ehrenreich's style was quite clear. At times though it does seem a bit dry and academic, considering it's about one of our most ecstatic shared pleasures. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 1/20/2014

    " I found this cultural history of celebrations and the repression of public celebrations very interesting. In a previous class in Mexican history I studied a book called Propriety and Permissiveness in Bourbon Mexico, that centered on these kind of issues in Mexican history. Barbara Ehrenreich's book puts this story into a longer term international context from ancient cultures to the current sports as spectacle craze. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 12/31/2013

    " Barbara Ehrenreich is awesome. The topic of this book is cool enough, then she somehow manages to offer unique ways of looking at military history, depression, Nazis, all kinds of things. Recommended for anyone who is interested in fun, or its many opposites. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris Ajello | 12/29/2013

    " Has parts that are very strong, expansive "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sheila | 12/19/2013

    " I love Barbara Ehrenreich, but was slightly bored by what I consider an amazing topic, loving festivals, street actions and public gatherings of all types. It is an interesting history, but maybe not tightly enough written (or maybe it's just not my time for reading the book...) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin Walsh | 12/13/2013

    " Very interesting - changed the way I think about celebration - not as futile, but as something that binds us and contributes to our existence in a way money cannot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott Bartlett | 10/28/2013

    " at first I thought she was being hard on Christian church history, then she kept going til the end with insight "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leah Gordon | 7/13/2013

    " this is a book that articulated every unspoken and nebulous uncertainty I held about modern western society - "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lyubov | 4/18/2013

    " This is fascinating! Both from the ciclovia history perspective, and from the angle of folk dancing (such as contra and Morris dancing), this gives an entirely new angle to how our society has embraced and discarded traditions of communal festivities and dancing in the streets over the centuries. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie | 3/17/2013

    " very cool book about human history "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pete Tauber | 3/11/2013

    " a great historical perspective on the history of ecstatic ritual. Very interesting how power dynamics play into something like dance... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dylan | 3/3/2013

    " Seemed like it would be really interesting but just didn't keep my attention the whole time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 10/20/2012

    " The first few chapters were pretty interesting. Definitely want to have a Dionysus party. Definitely. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Darcy | 9/6/2012

    " This was so bad--her scolarship was uneven, because she did not stick to her original premise, her research was incomplete, and the writing was amateurish. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy Buonaventura | 8/1/2012

    " As a dancer and a writer about women and dance, this book was a wonderful discovery for me. Its subtitle 'A History of Collective Joy' says it all. It looks at communal celebration through bodily expression down the ages and is absolutely riveting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn | 10/18/2011

    " I'm delighted to finally read a book that describes dancing and social exuberance in a positive light! While this book is not perfect (in its research, in its coverage and perception of non-western dance forms), it's the first and only of its kind. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aimee | 6/20/2011

    " Because of this book, I will be less judgmental about hippie antics like drum circles. That, and I will go to more rock shows.

    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pancha | 5/11/2011

    " This was less about collective joy than the repression of collective joy, and heavily focused on the Christian tradition, although not exclusively so. An interesting book, and a good resource for a writing wanting to get ideas for a repressive government. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alyssa | 11/13/2010

    " One of my favorite books, from one of my favorite authors. Social history of how and why we love to celebrate together. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sheila | 4/4/2010

    " I love Barbara Ehrenreich, but was slightly bored by what I consider an amazing topic, loving festivals, street actions and public gatherings of all types. It is an interesting history, but maybe not tightly enough written (or maybe it's just not my time for reading the book...) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda Hali | 3/13/2010

    " I gave up. really liked earlier books on american culture and politics- this one a little more academic and dry...would try again, because she's smart and "collective joy" seems like a great concept. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 12/28/2009

    " Barbara Ehrenreich is awesome. The topic of this book is cool enough, then she somehow manages to offer unique ways of looking at military history, depression, Nazis, all kinds of things. Recommended for anyone who is interested in fun, or its many opposites. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin | 11/29/2009

    " Very interesting - changed the way I think about celebration - not as futile, but as something that binds us and contributes to our existence in a way money cannot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amelia | 11/8/2009

    " As usual, I wish there were half-stars because I would give this one 3.5 stars. It was interesting! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn | 8/8/2009

    " I'm delighted to finally read a book that describes dancing and social exuberance in a positive light! While this book is not perfect (in its research, in its coverage and perception of non-western dance forms), it's the first and only of its kind. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott | 7/5/2009

    " at first I thought she was being hard on Christian church history, then she kept going til the end with insight "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leah | 5/2/2009

    " this is a book that articulated every unspoken and nebulous uncertainty I held about modern western society - "

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About the Author
Author Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of several books, including the New York Times bestseller Nickel and Dimed. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Progressive, Harper’s, and Time magazine and currently lives in Florida.

About the Narrator

Pam Ward found her true calling reading books for the blind and physically handicapped for the Library of Congress’ Talking Books program. The fact that she can work with Blackstone Audio from the beauty of the mountains of Southern Oregon is an unexpected bonus. She has won two AudioFile Earphones Awards.