Combining historical analysis with contemporary observation, Susan Jacoby dissects a new American cultural phenomenon - one that is at odds with our heritage of Enlightenment reason and with modern, secular knowledge and science. With mordant wit, Jacoby surveys an antirationalist landscape extending from pop culture to a pseudo-intellectual universe of "junk thought".
"Interesting, but explanation by redescription"
Books on Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss abound, as countless scholars have labored to uncover the facts behind Chambers's shocking accusation before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the summer of 1948---that Alger Hiss, a former rising star in the State Department, had been a Communist and engaged in espionage.
In this original and riveting exploration, Susan Jacoby argues that conversion - especially in the free American "religious marketplace" - is too often viewed only within the conventional and simplistic narrative of personal reinvention and divine grace. Instead, the author places conversions within a secular social context that has, at various times, included the force of a unified church and state, desire for upward economic mobility, and interreligious marriage.
"Our own fabrications"
In a narrative that combines the intensely personal with social, economic, and historical analysis, Susan Jacoby turns an unsparing eye on the marketers of longevity - pharmaceutical companies, lifestyle gurus, and scientific businessmen who suggest that there will soon be a "cure" for the "disease" of aging.
"mixture of interesting info and liberal ideology"
"Sick and Tired of 'God Bless America'" is from the US section of The New York Times. It was written by Susan Jacoby and narrated by Keith Sellon-Wright.
Peter J. Boyer, moderator. With Stephen L. Carter, Roberta Combs, Susan Jacoby, and Jim Towey. Peter J. Boyer has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. Stephen L. Carter is a law professor at Yale University. He is the author of seven books on law, ethics, and politics.