A powerful and original argument that traces the roots of our present crisis of authority to an unlikely source: the meritocracy.
Over the past decade, Americans watched in bafflement and rage as one institution after another - from Wall Street to Congress, the Catholic Church to corporate America, even Major League Baseball - imploded under the weight of corruption and incompetence. In the wake of the Fail Decade, Americans have historically low levels of trust in their institutions; the social contract between ordinary citizens and elites lies in tatters.
How did we get here? With Twilight of the Elites, Christopher Hayes offers a radically novel answer. Since the 1960s, as the meritocracy elevated a more diverse group of men and women into power, they learned to embrace the accelerating inequality that had placed them near the very top. Their ascension heightened social distance and spawned a new American elite - one more prone to failure and corruption than any that came before it.
Mixing deft political analysis, timely social commentary, and deep historical understanding, Twilight of the Elites describes how the society we have come to inhabit - utterly forgiving at the top and relentlessly punitive at the bottom - produces leaders who are out of touch with the people they have been trusted to govern. Hayes argues that the public's failure to trust the federal government, corporate America, and the media has led to a crisis of authority that threatens to engulf not just our politics but our day-to-day lives.
Upending well-worn ideological and partisan categories, Hayes entirely reorients our perspective on our times. Twilight of the Elites is the defining work of social criticism for the post-bailout age.
©2012 Christopher Hayes (P)2012 Random House Audio
"[L]ively and well-informed.Offering feasible proposals for change, this cogent social commentary urges us to reconstruct our institutions so we can once again trust them." (Publishers Weekly)
"[A] forcefully written debut.... A provocative discussion of the deeper causes of our current discontent, written with verve and meriting wide interest." (Kirkus Reviews)
"This is the Next Big Thing that we have been waiting for. Twilight of the Elites is the fully reported, detailed, true story of a 21st century America beyond the reach of authority. It's new, and true, and beautifully told - Hayes is the young left's most erudite and urgent interpreter. Brilliant book." (Rachel Maddow, host of The Rachel Maddow Show and author of Drift)
Solid comprehensive timely
Hayes skillfully reviews the unraveling of every major institution in the recent past.
His description of the Catholic Church's handling of pedophile priests over decades was especially revealing.
It's how we got here.
Hayes narrates his book well. And while the book outlines the current state of our lives, I wish there were more solutions for our future were offered. Maybe that is his next book!
The author picks the worst developments of the last decade or so to make the point that everything is worse than ever. It is the availability heuristic in a book. I wasted a credit.
This is well written and interesting. Meritocracy seems to explain the disconnect that is felt between the people and those in power. It also explains how Washington and the talking heads got it so wrong with the recent election. Very interesting topic.
The Other Critic
Not everyone who writes about US politics writes well. Not everyone who reads their own book for the audio version knows how to entertain. Chris Hayes did both!
I loved this book. It is amazing how now his book is even more relevant to our current climate in this hostile election cycle. He is also fun to listen to.
I read this book after reading an online article about how it was the ethos for the show Mr Robot. Not sure about that necessarily, but in any case the book was much much more than that. Chi's Hayes has a wonderful insight illustrated through case studies and thought experiments about what it takes to improve our society. Never before have I read a better "we need to fix this" type if book. Highly highly recommend this book to thinkers on the left AND right of the political spectrum.
This book is essential to understanding one of the most important and impactful phenomenon at the core of western society in the twenty-first century.
Christopher Hayes narrates his own work brilliantly, pointing out the many pitfalls in our current institutions. He is a voice for change that our society sorely needs to listen to.
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