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Generation of Vipers
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Generation of Vipers

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  75 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Perhaps the most vitriolic attack ever launched on the American way of living -- from politicians to professors to businessmen to Mom to sexual mores to religion -- "Generation of Vipers"?ranks with the works of De Tocqueville and Emerson in defining the American character and malaise.
Paperback, 331 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published 1942)
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I found this book at a bus stop when I was a teenager. It's mind-opening effect was profound and indelible. It seemed that the book had been left there for me to find. Ever since, I have not been able to convince myself that the universe is totally indifferent.
Seems I read once that Wylie wrote this book during a week-long drunken rage, locked in a NYC hotel room just after the outbreak of the Second World War. You can tell.
This book changed my worldview. "Generation of Vipers" is the most blistering condemnation of American culture (or lack of it) that I have ever seen, or can possibly imagine. Wylie is violently anti-war, anti-ignorance and anti-hypocrisy.
In a series of brief essays, Wylie absolutely unloads both barrels into the face of politics
Peter Lindsay
Apr 17, 2008 Peter Lindsay rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with a critical mind
Recommended to Peter by: communists
Although it could be construed as an exercise in paranoia this book is a fun read. Everyone, bankers, doctors, professors, gets a piece from Mr. Wiley so don't fret. Read it, be offended, and deal.
I read an earlier edition in the 1950s.

One of the really good books
Richard Lennox
As a radicalized college student in the late 60's, a creative writing instructor pointed this book out to me. It had the intended effect 0n me: there is nothing new to rebel against... It was still the same culture then, (as it still is now in 2012) We are still a loose knit society, saying one thing... Doing another... A blistering inditement of our beliefs and our actions from an extremely perceptive eye. It will shatter some taken-for-granted personal beliefs, that deserve to be shattered... ...more
Lancelot Fletcher
I read this book in 1954 when I was 13. I thought it was great then. I am not sure I would have the same opinion if I were to reread it now.
Mar 30, 2014 Michelle is currently reading it
Wow. This is a book to keep.
Travis Gee
Like most, the initial sense of amazement at Wylie's depth of insight as a social critic left me with a lingering question about each 'new' issue that pops up... "Now what was it Wylie said about that?" If it doesn't spring straight to mind I go back to that well-worn first edition.
This is a great, long-forgotten scathing examination of American morality and society. A bit too misogynistic for my taste, however.
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Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, he was the son of Presbyterian minister Edmund Melville Wylie and the former Edna Edwards, a novelist, who died when Philip was five years old. His family moved to Montclair, New Jersey and he later attended Princeton University from 1920–1923. He married Sally Ondek, and had one child, Karen, an author who became the inventor of animal "clicker" training. After a d ...more
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