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The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things | [Barry Glassner]

The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things

America is a country gripped by fear. In this widely-acclaimed book, Barry Glassner exposes the people and organizations that manipulate our perceptions and profit from our anxieties. These peddlers of fear (politicians, advocacy groups, and the media) cost Americans dearly, weighing us down with needless worries and causing us to squander billions of dollars to fix mythological problems.
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Publisher's Summary

America is a country gripped by fear. In this widely-acclaimed book, Barry Glassner exposes the people and organizations that manipulate our perceptions and profit from our anxieties. These peddlers of fear (politicians, advocacy groups, and the media) cost Americans dearly, weighing us down with needless worries and causing us to squander billions of dollars to fix mythological problems. Topics like lethal road rage get major play in the media, even though one is far more likely to be killed by lightning. Meanwhile, we fail to correct the true cause of a problem; for instance, instead of enacting tougher gun laws, we erect more prisons. Ultimately reassuring, The Culture of Fear diagnoses the predominant pathology of our age and provides a passionate cry for a return to rationality.

This audio edition includes an exclusive introduction by documentary filmmaker and author Michael Moore.

©1999 Barry Glassner; (P)2003 The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Finalist, Non-Fiction (abridged), 2005

"A critical look at the baseless, harmful paranoia spread by our mass media....One of the most important sociological books you'll read this year, and certainly the most reassuring." (Kirkus)
"A gutsy expose of one of the most widespread delusions of our time: misplaced fear." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"[Glassner] wields an impressive body of research and consequently enjoys the power of redefining reality for a moment in history." (Salon)
"Oddly comforting....Glassner's delivery is serious but not emotionless....virtually everyone will leave this book with a more realistic, guardedly optimistic world view." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (109 )
5 star
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4.3 (9 )
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4.4 (9 )
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  •  
    Steve Davis, CA, USA 05-20-04
    Steve Davis, CA, USA 05-20-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well documented critique"

    I had heard great things about this book and was suprised to see some of the negative reviews on this site. After listening, rather than having a "left wing agenda," my take was that this was a very well thought and documented intellectual critique of the media. It debunks issues on both sides of the political spectrum and the author backs up his argument with compelling or outright overwhelming factual information including studies, articles, and so on.

    Another criticism on this site was about how inconcievable "political correctness" being created by the right could be. I was especially interested in this and the author does a great job of making his argument and backing it up with documentation. I wonder if the reviewer even listened that closely?

    My only criticism is the book is read by the author. The reading is a little dry, not as exciting as some of the other books I've heard. But that's somewhat to be expected with a book of this nature. Overall, I'd recommend it.

    25 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Lexington, KY, USA 08-06-04
    Richard Lexington, KY, USA 08-06-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A really enjoyable social science listen..."

    I enjoyed every minute of this audiobook. This one is intellectual, but easy to understand for anyone. A little bit philosophy, a lot social science, and a bit of wit here and there. My favorite audio book to date, and I listen a lot.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas New Rochelle, NY, USA 02-27-08
    Douglas New Rochelle, NY, USA 02-27-08 Member Since 2007
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    "a worthy listen"

    Worth hearing. On how and why, we (as a society) are kept in constant fear.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pete Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA 02-06-05
    Pete Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA 02-06-05
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    "Awesome"

    More of this type of truth needs to be heard.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Hermosa Beach, CA, USA 01-21-04
    Christopher Hermosa Beach, CA, USA 01-21-04
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    "Mostly forgettable"

    The weird thing about this book is that the author explains how "fear mongers" use the media to mislead the public and thus promote their alarmingly conservative agenda. He then does an about-face and uses the EXACT SAME TECHNIQUES to explain why we should fear those things that liberals find scary.

    As someone who isn't overly political, I found this book to be more silly (insofar as it contradicts itself) than intolerable.

    16 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Madison, WI, USA 12-16-03
    Christopher Madison, WI, USA 12-16-03 Member Since 2003
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    "Fantabulous"

    Well worth your time.

    16 of 60 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly San Diego, CA, USA 01-09-04
    Kelly San Diego, CA, USA 01-09-04 Member Since 2003
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    "Left Wing Agenda"

    I like books of facts and statistics like this and was really looking forward to learning the truth about a great many topics. That's why I was stunned when I heard the voice of Michael "it's okay to lie if you think your cause is just" Moore, who wrote the introduction. I almost deleted the book right then, assuming that if Moore was associated with it then 1) you couldn't trust what was said and 2) there would be a far left slant to everything. But I held my nose and got through the intro.

    The book itself does have a lot of interesting statistics and I will admit that I have no reason to doubt its veracity. But there is a heavy helping of left wing agenda mixed in, especially when it comes to guns and blaming conservatives for all that is wrong with the world. I believe anyone buying this book should know that going in and judge it accordingly.

    29 of 108 people found this review helpful
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