AMERICAN AS A CIVILIZATION by Max Lerner

AMERICAN AS A CIVILIZATION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The reigning American moral deity is the great god Fun, states Max Lerner in his latest exhaustive work on the ""pattern and inner meaning of contemporary American civilization and its relation to the world of today"". American attitudes toward racial issues, political parties, the individual as consumer and producer, and as the object of industrial campaigns of planned obsolescence come under scrutiny. In tracing the American revolutionary spirit through a long-continuing series of social transformations that have changed the profile of society, the author considers two significant images in the national mind -- that of the self-reliant craftsman and that of a wilderness untamed. Lerner confutes those who claim for Europe the role of a cultural Greece to the American Rome, holding that Europe is caught between the need of America and the recoil from it. Status hunger afflicts Americans. With class nobility always comes the question, ""Do I belong?"" To minority groups and the economically underprivileged TV offers surcease in pseudo-belonging. Our national press, the Kinsey report, American women in thrall to the Goddess of the Right Thing, are sizeable parts of a massive exposition on America. Interstices of epigram and observation from ancient and contemporary commentators leaven the weight and mass of his material. For that readership which strives toward objective evaluation of our culture.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster