THE UNFINISHED SOCIETY by Herbert von Borch

THE UNFINISHED SOCIETY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This view of contemporary America seen through the eyes of the noted West German journalist Herbert von Borch, vivid and stimulating though it may be, is not really an original contribution. Actually what we have here is a brightly accessible assemblage of recent forays in the Wake-Up-America! forests from such notable hunters as Mills, Packard, Lippmann, Galbraith, Rickover, etc. Von Borch merely reshapes their findings, giving them the cultivated, cosmopolitan, ""Good European"" stamp and slant. Anyway, ""the best minds in the country know that the American dream has spent itself and that the nation must live without it""; the dream was a mixture of 18th century utopianism and philosophical isolation; in the transition period of today, then, the cult of consumption is leading to a social disequilibrium: we are the only nation in the world where a relationship exists between alienation and abundance; thus quantitative progress is dying (how many more gadgets can we use?), while qualitative progress dawns. Upshot: the masses as the new leisure class and the future possibilities either of collective boredom or the Aristotelian pursuit of wisdom in art and life. The book's first half far outdistances the second; nevertheless, the overall performance is sharp, satisfying and timely.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1962
Publisher: Hawthorn