• Dancing in the Streets

  • A History of Collective Joy
  • By: Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Narrated by: Pam Ward
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (119 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

From best-selling social commentator and cultural historian Barbara Ehrenreich comes this fascinating exploration of one of humanity's oldest traditions: the celebration of communal joy, historically expressed in ecstatic revels of feasting, costuming, and dancing.

Ehrenreich uncovers the origins of communal celebration in human biology and culture, showing that such mass festivities have been indigenous to the West since the ancient Greeks. Though suppressed by elites who fear the undermining of social hierarchies, outbreaks of group revelry still persist, Ehrenreich shows, pointing to the 1960s rock-and-roll rebellion and the more recent "carnivalization" of sports.

Original, exhilarating, and deeply optimistic, Dancing in the Streets shows that we are innately social beings, impelled to share our joy and thereby envision a peaceable future.

©2006 Barbara Ehrenreich (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A serious look at communal celebrations, well documented and presented with assurance and flair." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Ehrenreich writes with grace and clarity in a fascinating, wide-ranging, and generous account." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Dancing in the Streets

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Oddly leaves out the largest phenomenon of celebration in N. America

I enjoyed this book but... New Orleans is and has been a city defined and moulded, more than anything else, by a culture of non spectator celebration for hundreds of years. Strange to go so in depth about sports and rock n roll without even mentioning the most vibrant and consistent group ecstasy the USA holds. Makes me suspect of the other information in the book. Has she never been to the many month celebrations of Mardi Gras? No mention of Mardi Gras Indians. No mention of the parade culture.

5 people found this helpful

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Not for celebration

The tone of the audio was surprisingly condescending. I was expecting at least neutral. Content was accurate though.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Such an important, unique work

The beginning starts out a little slower, but WELL worth waiting it out as it moves forward chronologically....just clearly represents a serious, creative level of research and shines a light and what amounts to be a sad reality about the lack of meaningful, collective opportunities to just enjoy life with those around us (through food, drink, music, even dancing).

I hope it helps drive a real push for more of exactly those things, and i know myself that i want to do anything i can, even in small ways, to push all of that.

1 person found this helpful

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Language Warning

Has some racial slurs in it, but entirely in the context of representing how oppressors spoke to enslaved people so be mindful of listening to the book near children. Overall the book is fantastic and I learned a lot.

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Very Interesting

The author gives an amazing account of festivity and communal ecstasy throughout history. From paleolithic man, Dionysian rites, early Christian practices, all the way through the rock revolution and modern sports craze, the story of our desire to break down boundaries and live joyously and the authority which finds itself constantly threatened by unity of the little people. An argument is made that we are still missing something that may never be truly regained outside of music festivals and family religious groups which may still practice the age old traditions of ecstatic rites.

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Eye Opening

Great book. Very informative about dance and music across cultures. I could see the effects it has had on my life and many of those around me. This book has inspired me to make changes that are fun and will last four generations to come.

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Romp through civilization

A good read for those interested in anthropology, evolution and the forces such as hierarchies which have attempted to mute the irrepressible human instinct for collective joy.

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Poor

Very shoddy historical work in this book. So many glaring logical fallacies and inaccuracies that I had to stop mid way...

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Shades of lectures past

I tried to listen, but gave up. This reminded me of my worst courses in grad school, required ones given by professors who stood woodenly in front of the class and read their magnum opus to us in a monotone.
And, like the worst of them, it contained no revelations before I was mentally asleep.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-15-21

Fantastic!

A rare gem that somehow got into the free catalogue. I am a student of Anthropology and I wish I had found this years ago. It isn't overly academic and the narration is great. Highly recommended for everyone who wants to learn more about our society and how we as the humankind have always needed dancing and festivities in our lives