The author’s frequent allusions to the era’s films, TV shows, books and music lend color and context to an already...

READ REVIEW

MAD AS HELL

THE CRISIS OF THE 1970S AND THE RISE OF THE POPULIST RIGHT

A British historian revisits the politics and culture of a miserable American decade.

Tom Wolfe famously dubbed the 1970s “The ‘Me’ Decade,” when anything hopeful or noble about the ’60s either curdled or congealed. Three undistinguished presidencies—Nixon, Ford and Carter—presided over an angry, resentful, self-absorbed populace reeling from Vietnam and Watergate and suffering from high unemployment, inflation and taxes. At the same time, liberalism dozed, either unaware or dismissive of the gathering conservative reaction to a corrupt establishment that, to them, fostered permissiveness, lawlessness and regular assaults on the traditional family. Against this backdrop of cultural decay, working-class discontent and middle-class resentment arose the populist right. Scorned by opponents as kooks and racists, derided as poorly educated and fearful of modernity, these activists helped prepare the ground for the Reagan Revolution. Sandbrook’s principal cast includes characters like James Dobson and his Focus on the Family pressure group; Howard Jarvis, the California anti-tax crusader; Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts and Robert Schuller, evangelists who moved boldly into the political arena; singer Anita Bryant, who campaigned against a gay-rights ordinance in Florida; Louise Day Hicks, who led demonstrations against busing in South Boston; Phyllis Schlafly, who spearheaded opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment; Richard Viguerie, who invented direct-mail fundraising on behalf of conservative causes; and Paul Weyrich, who helped bring big money to the movement and whose Heritage Foundation offered ideological guidance. Sandbrook (Never Had It So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles, 2005, etc.) also surveys a multitude of ’70s phenomena, including redneck chic, the booming of the Sunbelt, the revival of country music, the surprising nostalgia for the ’50s, Bobby Riggs v. Billy Jean King, Norman Mailer v. Germaine Greer, New York as Fear City and California Dreaming becoming the Golden State Nightmare.

The author’s frequent allusions to the era’s films, TV shows, books and music lend color and context to an already penetrating and evenhanded political analysis.

Pub Date: Feb. 17, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4000-4262-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

more