Why, she asks, did our culture respond to an assault against American global dominance with a frenzied summons to restore "traditional" manhood, marriage, and maternity? Why did we react as if the hijackers had targeted not a commercial and military edifice but the family home and nursery? Why did an attack fueled by hatred of Western emancipation lead us to a regressive fixation on Doris Day womanhood and John Wayne masculinity, with trembling "security moms", swaggering presidential gun-slingers, and the "rescue" of a female soldier cast as a "helpless little girl"?
The answer, Faludi finds, lies in a historical anomaly unique to the American experience: the nation that in recent memory has been least vulnerable to domestic attack was forged in traumatizing assaults by non-white "barbarians" on town and village. That humiliation lies concealed under a myth of cowboy bluster and feminine frailty, which is reanimated whenever threat and shame looms - as they did on September 11th.
Brilliant and important, The Terror Dream shows what 9/11 revealed about us - and offers the opportunity to look at ourselves anew.
©2007 Susan Faludi; (P)2007 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC
"A brilliant, unsentimental, often darkly humorous account of America's nervous breakdown after 9/11." (Publishers Weekly)
I started this book with the vague sense that Faludi was right, that gender politics had been engaged in some retro ways in the American reaction to 9/11, but that she was probably way overstating it. Faludi convinced me otherwise! She's a terrific, very cogent and clear writer who does her research thoroughly. In fact, I had the same experience when I read Backlash, years ago, feeling like she was only a little right, and then reading it and being utterly persuaded.
Faludi goes into a lot of deeper American history to try to elucidate the story that the media applied so readily to the events of 9/11 and its aftermath. It's all interesting, but some of it is less than productive to her main thesis, and ends up being a bit tangential. But when she's treating major episodes of 9/11-related coverage, such as that of the "rescue" of American soldier Jessica Lynch, she is simply brilliant.
Very highly, but it will not be for everyone. Faludi's work however is meticulously researched and smartly written. She is a very articulate writer who brings together many loose ends and puts them together for the reader.
That it is factual, and fact.
I have never heard of Beth McDonald but I was impressed by her forthright attitude.
No. Perhaps surprise.
Susan Faludi is an intellect in the USA, and she deserves far more kudos and recognition than she gets. She has an eye to social history and this aspect is crucial for me in making sense of the world today.
The author backs up her point with lots of facts, so I have no doubt of the basis for her point of view. However, I couldn't tolerate the strident and accusatory tone long enough to see if she had information about how this trend has played out over the last 6 years.
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