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American Panic: A History of Who Scares Us and Why
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American Panic: A History of Who Scares Us and Why

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  58 ratings  ·  15 reviews
In American Panic , New York Times bestselling author Mark Stein traces the history and consequences of American political panics through the years. Virtually every American, on one level or another, falls victim to the hype, intensity, and propaganda that accompanies political panic, regardless of their own personal affiliations. By highlighting the similarities between A ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 20th 2014 by Palgrave Macmillan Trade
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Gloria
Interesting idea but hard to read. Not written like a good history or novel, but more like references and quotes. Someone else might make a better more readable book from these same ideas. Definition of panic is troublesome. It is more likely irrational fears and actions than what we might think of as panic. Still the idea fits American history even to the "Ebola fears" of today ( which is not mentioned in the book) but he starts with the Salem witch trials and moves on through all Amercan histo ...more
Jim Kahn
While this is not a particularly easy read and sometimes seems to be nothing but endless quotes from newspapers, editorials, or politician speeches, the premise of this book is very interesting. The author spends the first chapter defining 'panic' and proceeds to analyze various groups throughout American history who have been the subject of such. Starting with witchcraft in the colonial days and working up through Native Americans, Catholics, Communists, Corporations (ironically at about the sa ...more
Ray
"No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear".
— Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful


In his book "American Panic: A History of Who Scares Us, and Why", author Mark Stein takes us through a litany of things which have, at one time or another, given rise to fear and/or panic in the American public. Stein gives times and examples of how and when the general attitude in our Country was that to al
...more
Argum
I received a free copy of this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads Program.

American Panic while interesting was not exactly the history I expected. Some eras were shaped to convey the story desired by this author at the expense of unbiased presentation. The definition of panic and how it operates in the US while not entirely defined is interesting and engaging as the book progresses. I did learn something in every chapter and found the book engaging to read when I wasn't angry at its misr
...more
victor harris
Topical coverage of different domestic and immigrant groups that have inspired panic since the colonial period. From the early Indians right up to the present hostile anti-immigrant climate, Americans have always been fearful and paranoid about people of different color and ethnicity. An efficient coverage of the topic though it leans more toward a reference style presentation than a fluid, engaging narrative.
Sue Berg
very interesting and important information but writing style not as interesting -- info merits 4 or even 5 stars but the writing is the 3 star part of the rating.
Jennifer
i can see why this author is on the bests sellers list.i was very impressed with what he thinks about how we as americans fall victim to the propaganda of the political panic.and how no matter what the generaltion we face the same obstacles in what we dont know or want to face.this book starts with the witch trials and ends up during the september 11 attacks.i am amazed by the shear magnitude of the ideas and information i obtained and will enjoy rereading this book over time.
I want to take this
...more
Laura
The reason not to trust opinion, hearsay, or gossip. Go to the source and find out for yourself! Fallacy based on incomplete or misleading information is dangerous.
Kristen
Full Disclosure. I won this book in a Goodreads FirstReads giveaway.

As someone else mentioned, the book read more like a report than an engaging narrative. Stein chronicals a series of prejudiced actions against various groups, and terms them as panics when certain criteria that he has established are met. In an attempt to show the similarities bewteen the different panics, the book became rather repetitive. The book also definintely has a liberal bent as Fox News and the Tea Party get bashed a
...more
Quanita
This reads more like a textbook rather than a general reader. A carefully chosen word, with or without a proven fact, can cause public "panic". Gender, race or any other issue can be used to drum up worry.
A Smith
If you like logic and reading and history you'll like this.

He dismantles crazy fear mongers and their writing.
Aloysius
A history of hysteria about the different social and ethnic groups that have been persecuted.
Jim Ogle
Interesting material, but it felt more like a report than a narrative.
Larry
Excellent book!!
Psychonaut
A tad too dry
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

1951-
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