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xx, 356 pages ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Introduction -- 1: Way we live now: just us folks -- 2: Way we lived then: intellect and ignorance in a young nation -- 3: Social pseudoscience in the morning of America's culture wars -- 4: Reds, pinkos, fellow travelers -- 5: Middlebrow culture from noon to twilight -- 6: Blaming it on the sixties -- 7: Legacies: youth culture and celebrity culture -- 8: New old-time religion -- 9: Junk thought -- 10: Culture of distraction -- 11: Public life: defining dumbness downward -- Conclusion: Cultural conservation -- Notes -- Selected bibliography -- Acknowledgments -- Index.
From the Publisher: A cultural history of the last forty years, The Age of American Unreason focuses on the convergence of social forces-usually treated as separate entities-that has created a perfect storm of anti-rationalism. These include the upsurge of religious fundamentalism, with more political power today than ever before; the failure of public education to create an informed citizenry; and the triumph of video over print culture. Sparing neither the right nor the left, Jacoby asserts that Americans today have embraced a universe of "junk thought" that makes almost no effort to separate fact from opinion.