THE MANMADE WILDERNESS by Clara Mayer

THE MANMADE WILDERNESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Nothing's right with our world--individuals submerged, commercialism supreme, activity irrational, society mediocre. America is sick, this author asserts and wishes to still the death-rattle with a ""suppressed cry for livable life"" in book form. Her case history of the national psyche is drawn from personal experience: rental agents' insouciance is Big Bad Bureaucracy; Adlai Stevenson could have saved us; and the defense budget is an ethical travesty. More important in this clinical analysis are the unheeded truisms about America's technical gullibility, its maddening pace and mass neuroses, the ""unexamined life"" of the Average Joe. As a sociological Billy Graham crusading for individualism and rational change, the author makes the old exhortations in good faith, but the all-too-true and obvious diagnoses we willfully choose to overlook are not pungent or objective enough here to save them from the quasi-philosophical cliches that condemn too broadly and suggests too grandly without a concrete punch. A stream of social consciousness that ends with more of a whimper than a wallop and has little appeal for those whose ills are ostensibly under examination--not even with its references to St. Francis and FDR can this kind of book provoke us to the rescue of our blighted twentieth-century souls. Uninspirational reading.

Publisher: theneum