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America is in desperate need of new ideas. In the richest, most powerful nation in history, Americans are profoundly troubled. The level of fear, anger, and dissatisfaction with life in 21st century America is reflected in our many social ills and questionable national behavior, exacerbated by the general lack of insight to explain what is wrong. Where will the new ideas come from?
Cultural critic Stephen James offers a fresh perspective on the problems that plague America, as well as much-needed solutions. By applying modern social science and interdisciplinary thought to contemporary American issues, James offers a sweeping and relevant analysis of a culture that has become toxic for its members.
James proposes that our drive to become the most powerful nation on earth can be understood in terms of the theories of Ernest Becker. Becker writes that all human beings dread death, and all cultures have developed measures to deny death and create opportunities for immortality. Unfortunately, our culture offers an inadequate antidote to death anxiety, pushing us to success as a nation, while leaving us anxious, driven, and unhappy. Our own culture has evolved to oppress and exploit us. It is, in a word, toxic.
James suggests unique opportunities for hope, as well as new forms of heroism, new values, and fresh approaches to life that counter death anxiety and promote satisfaction on a deeper human level. Intellectually bracing and highly readable, American Stew synthesizes ideas from a multitude of disciplines to help us better understand the complexities of culture and human motivation.
“Thought-provoking, challenging. . . A must-read!”
is a communications media expert who draws on 30 years of writing and research experience.