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Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed author of Listen, Liberal and What’s the Matter with Kansas, a scathing collection of his incisive commentary on our cruel times - perfect for this political moment.

What does a middle-class democracy look like when it comes apart? When, after 40 years of economic triumph, America’s winners persuade themselves that they owe nothing to the rest of the country? 

With his sharp eye for detail, Thomas Frank takes us on a wide-ranging tour through present-day America, showing us a society in the late stages of disintegration and describing the worlds of both the winners and the losers - the sprawling mansion districts as well as the lives of fast-food workers.  

Rendezvous with Oblivion is a collection of interlocking essays examining how inequality has manifested itself in our cities, in our jobs, in the way we travel - and of course in our politics, where in 2016, millions of anxious ordinary people rallied to the presidential campaign of a billionaire who meant them no good. 

These accounts of folly and exploitation are here brought together in a single audiobook unified by Frank’s distinctive voice, sardonic wit, and anti-orthodox perspective. It captures a society where every status signifier is hollow, where the allure of mobility is just another con game, and where rebellion too often yields nothing. 

For those who despair of the future of our country and of reason itself, Rendezvous with Oblivion is a booster shot of energy, reality, and moral outrage.   

©2018 Thomas Frank (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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A Major Depressive if it Wasn't so Witty.

Salient as hell.

I wonder, did we ever (likely by accident and if only for a moment) live up to our own myth(s)?

It seems not.

How do you take the good examples of the past into the future without mistakingly pining for something that never really quite was?

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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book of our times

wish it was longer, the essays are so enjoyable and well written. author does great reading his own work

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Well laid out before you ... if you will listen

Thomas Frank is a very informative and entertaining teacher. Bleak yet hopeful theme well performed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Gets Most Things Right

Frank's entire gig is about taking an objective look at the political and societal reality of our times, and while he does a great job of this most of the time,he also occasionally slips and reveals his personal biases.

This time around, Frank hits the nail on the head when calling out the Democratic establishment, and he supports his assertions with illuminating anecdotes and eye-opening insights. He speaks clearly about how and why Donald Trump became president and offers some valuable thought fodder for might come next. But interestingly, while presenting a reasoned indictment of the Democrat's embrace of meritocracy, Frank nearly gives academia a free pass for their part.

Citing the ridiculous cost of a college education in the 21st Century, Frank gives but tepid criticism of role played by the academics themselves and instead points the finger of blame squarely at administration. According to Frank, one of the most significant causes of increased tuition is the huge number of administrators busily supplanting the faculty and wasting time on process improvement. Never mind that the educational system has largely gone unchanged for a century, or that the reason for process improvement is to improve efficiency and reduce cost. Note to Thomas Frank: there's plenty of room to improve the education system both on the instructional and administrative side, and if those involved in the process are just adding to the cost, then they're not doing their job.

In spite of Frank's naive view of higher education and utter lack of knowledge on the discipline of process improvement, he hits another home run with Rendezvous with Oblivion. I highly recommend the book for its content and style, and find frank himself to be an excellent narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Message Was Good, but Disingenuous

The book has an important message. The liberals have largely abandoned their roots and have become corrupt and, more to the point, out of touch with those they pretend to serve. All this is true, but the delivery was so bombastic and full of hyperbole that it put me off. The other thing that put me off was his defense of people in small towns bemoaning that the carpet has been pulled out from under them. He maintains they didn't vote Trump/Republican because they are racist and sexist, but because they are losing their way of life. What makes their lives in small towns more important than life for those of us in cities? I, personally, have had to pull up roots many times to find work to support my family. So have most of my friends. We don't sit around and moan that it was the "librals" or even the "conservatives," that did this to us. Almost everyone I know has had to move for work. People in rural areas or small towns often believe they are special and don't have to do what humans have done for millennia and go find food/work where it is available. The author refuses to see this. They are all victims of us elite, educated folk in his mind. While I agree with 80% of the book's premise (that liberals/Democrats have lost their way), I have a real problem giving a pass to the racism, sexism, tribalism and downright mean-spiritedness of the Trump movement and its adherents. I grew up in Kansas, and I know the mindset I grew up with. They support a racist message because there is a racist core to their anger. They blame "the other" because things aren't to their liking. The author refused to admit this sentiment exists and it degrades the quality of his book.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Excellent narration!

Thomas Frank talks politics with eloquence and incisive wit! Yet, his ideas are as straightforward as they are insightful. We should all heed Frank's call to action in his writing.

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Thomas Frank at his best

the stories he tells are depressing but true and as compelling as any he's written in his ongoing career of deeply unique insight

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wake up <br />

the democratic party should listen to Thomas Frank and reinvent themselves. Listen to the working people.

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  • Dom
  • Cave Creek, AZ
  • 09-13-18

quality!

A refreshingly plausible description of modern America and what ails it. This guy needs more air time!

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Excellent read

There were some interesting points I had not thought of. The individual essay format was intetesting. I always enjoy his books and stories

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  • Paul Murphy
  • 07-08-18

Very narrowly analyzed

Big topic to take on. A lot of ground to cover, missed it I fear .