Morris Berman's brilliant treatise on the decline of the American empire is right on the money.
Mar 8, 2010
You need not be a Rhodes scholar to understand what is happening in this country. Rather, if you are someone who reads, pays attention to current affairs and cares about the common good you probably already realize what is going on. The fact of the matter is that America as we know it simply cannot sustain itself. There are myriad reasons for this and Morris Berman points to a whole host of them in his latest book "Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire". This is a candid and very balanced assessment of why the American empire has already begun it's decline. And according to Berman the trend is probably irreversible . Morris Berman lays the blame for most of this just where it belongs. Throughout our history Americans have consistantly chosen the rights of the individual over the good of the community. This trend has only accelerated over the past 50 years. The rest of the world views Americans as ill-informed and selfish. We are just 6 percent of the world's population and we blissfully consume more than 25% of it's resources. It seems shopping has become our national pastime while our schools continue to churn out students who have little or no interest in public affairs. Our participation in civic and community service groups is at an all-time low. In the meantime, the American people insist on driving bigger and bigger vehicles and living in ever larger homes with absolutely no regard for the consequences of their wasteful habits. Likewise, we continue to elect leaders who tell us only what we want to hear and never require us to make even a scintilla of sacrifice. Add this to the fact that the vast majority of individuals have precious little interest in American history and what we arrive at is a really sad and dangerous state of affairs.
"Dark Ages America: The Final Days of Empire" examines all of these subjects and many more in great detail. Morris Berman discusses the implications of the deregulation of the American media and how it has contributed to the gradual dumbing down of America. He also spends a great deal of time talking about the coming collapse of the American economy. It seems that in its infinite wisdom our government is financing our shopping spree by massive borrowing from foreign nations. These short-sighted policies will likely lead to a financial crisis of monumental proportions. Yet few of our elected officials in Washington seem to care a lick about it. Berman is also very concerned about the attack on our civil liberties being perpetrated by various government agencies. I could go on and on but needless to say Berman paints a very frightening picture. I found "Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of American Empire" to be particularly well-written and meticulously researched. This is a important book that should be read and digested by as many people as possible. But alas, most have no time for such mundane matters. The new season of "American Idol" has just begun. Highly recommended!
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Paul Tognetti (drifter51)
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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This book laments prevailing U.S. policy, its declining civilization, current administration and dominant economic order. Author Morris Berman predicted bad times in his last book, The Twilight of American Culture, and in his eyes, they have come to pass. He is comprehensive, albeit not necessarily objective, in his charges, concerns and criticisms. His recaps of previous administrations, and his explanations of current policies are detailed and interesting. However, the depth of his dismay make his heartfelt arguments veer into intemperate language and leads to uneven presentations of some issues. Berman offers intriguing reasons to oppose much in the political, philosophical and societal evolution of the U.S. He examines the impact of Sept. 11, 2001, including the resulting foreign and domestic policies. He diagnoses a paucity of public debate and decries blows to civil liberties. getAbstract recommends this book to those who want to understand a point of view that departs from standard political thinking.
About the Author
A cultural historian and social critic, Morris Berman is the author of The Reenchantment of the World, Coming to Our Senses, Wandering God and The Twilight of American Culture.