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Extended Audio Sample The Age of American Unreason, by Susan Jacoby Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.0014194464159 out of 53.0014194464159 out of 53.0014194464159 out of 53.0014194464159 out of 53.0014194464159 out of 5 3.00 (1,409 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Susan Jacoby Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 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 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Smart, well researched, and frequently cogent.”

    New York Times

  • “Forceful…Cogently argued…An intellectual journey of the first order.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Electric with fearless interpretation and fueled by passionate concern…Brilliant, incendiary, and, one hopes, corrective.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Jacoby has assembled an erudite mix of personal anecdotes, cultural history and social commentary to decry America’s retreat into junk thought.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by sandy gamble | 5/17/2016

    " telling why we wound consider. a Trump for president. gives a good explanation. of state of our school system. lack of inderstanding our history goverment and traditions. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Stewart | 1/25/2014

    " Great list on what's wrong with American society today, and how we ended up here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mary Lois Timbes | 1/21/2014

    " A very important book about the dumbing-down of America, the growing gap between the educated "elites" and the grassroots, resistant to anything that challenges their long held prejudices. It's not always easy reading, but chock full of information and the history of intellectualism in this country. Jacoby even addresses the prejudices of Liberals, but for the most part she bemoans the tide of ignorance and anger that is sweeping the country. Good to know but maddening to learn all the same. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Laura Jennings | 1/9/2014

    " This is a wonderful book about how we have come to celebrate ignorance rather than intellectualism. Why do we want to select a president we want to have a beer with rather than a president who has the best credentials or judgement. "

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About the Author

Susan Jacoby is an independent scholar and the bestselling author of almost a dozen books, including Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, which was named a Notable Book of 2004 by the Washington Post and theTimes Literary Supplement. Her book The Age of American Unreason was a New York Times bestseller in 2008.