Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Book Recommendation

I'm about 2/3 of the way through a fantastic book I think every American should read - Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire - A 500-Year History, by Kurt Anderson. If you've ever wondered (as I have) why so many Americans believe ludicrous things, support policies that are clearly not in their best interests, and throw their enthusiastic support behind proven liars and charlatans, this book offers a detailed, thoroughly-researched, and highly-entertaining look at how and why our history has brought us to this point.

Here's a good summary, from one of many reviews on Amazon.com:

“Andersen's premise is that from colonial days on, America, unlike Europe, has been shaped by people who have been divorced from reality, whether through religious fanaticism (think the Puritans) or prospects of riches (think the Roanoke colony or Jamestown settlers). And that tenacious grip on fantasy over fact has largely guided our nation's history, with new examples emerging in every era. In the aggregate, this elevation of the impossible, the absurd and the unsubstantiated, has repeatedly destroyed lives and gotten us to the sorry place we are today, where the holder of the highest office in the land routinely lies and gets away with it.”

Anderson does a superb job of tracing the threads of our religious, political, and economic history and tying them together in an interesting - and disturbing - tale of why a nation as blessed as ours takes so many frequent and alarming turns into blatant fantasy and intolerance. This book will enrage the deeply religious and the politically ossified, but it's difficult to object to the historical analysis it provides.

I strongly recommend you read this book and consider what it suggests about our national situation and what we might be able to do to improve it*.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Sadly, probably not much.


bakku-shan said...

I am definitely interested.

Mike said...

Looks like an interesting book.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

America is simply like the Europe from which it largely sprang; but only more so. The book sounds interesting.

John Hill said...

Might have to put this on my reader for our February beach trip...