Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics” as Want to Read:
The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics

4.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  126 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Can we continue to believe in progress? In this sobering analysis of the Western human condition, Christopher Lasch seeks the answer in a history of the struggle between two ideas: one is the idea of progress - an idea driven by the conviction that human desire is insatiable and requires ever larger production forces. Opposing this materialist view is the idea that condemn ...more
Paperback, 592 pages
Published September 17th 1991 by W. W. Norton & Company
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The True and Only Heaven, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The True and Only Heaven

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 509)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Szplug
Nov 11, 2009 Szplug rated it it was amazing
This inquiry began with a deceptively simple question. How does it happen that serious people continue to believe in progress, in the face of massive evidence that might have been expected to refute the idea of progress once and for all?
So opens The True and Only Heaven, Christopher Lasch's penultimate book of cultural criticism. There have been many such critiques aimed at the United States over the past half-century—most more jeremiad than reasoned analysis—but I have always believed Lasch t
...more
Newtie Jeff
Jan 28, 2009 Newtie Jeff rated it it was amazing
Crucial book in my personal and political development. Simply put, this book completely remade my political and social ideology. Before reading this book I had, at various times in my life called myself a liberal, a socialist, an American progressive, and an orthodox Marxist. True and Only Heaven moved me, decisively, both farther left and farther right than I had imagined I would ever move.

The book is an intellectual tour-de-force.
Seth
Jul 24, 2010 Seth rated it it was amazing
Sadly this was my first Christopher Lasch experience. He was a great writer and thinker to say the very least. Lasch and, my favorite historian John Lukacs, are similar in their attitudes towards the middle class and the cult of progress. However, unlike Lasch and Lukacs, I do not give as much credit to the middle class. Still, this is required reading for anyone displeased with ideology and our baby-boomer progressives.
Dan
Mar 11, 2015 Dan rated it it was amazing
Christopher Lasch with the Freud sanded off and a pathological urge to anticipate every last historical objection to his central arguments, among which: getting high on pure possibility seems like a good deal if you're smart or rich, but probably isn't even if you are.

Not sure this is the Lasch you should read if you're just getting into him, but it's the one you want if his earlier books struck a nerve but felt abstracted by their psychoanalytic detours or otherwise incomplete.
Dan
What I learned from this book: Expect less of life and more of yourself.
And I should add there is a reading of the successes and failures of the civil rights movement that is challenging and disagreeable, but difficult to disbelieve.
Pete
Oct 07, 2012 Pete rated it liked it
smart went crazy, also went slightly dumb

I am all for polemics striking at the panko-crusted heart of bourgeois liberalism but this is a bit tweedy for me. Some legit greatness in here, also a whale tank full of pedantry
Ben
Dec 27, 2015 Ben rated it it was amazing
Despite its conclusions, this is a tremendous work of intellectual and cultural history. Speaking mainly about his work in the late 1970s and early 1980s, George Scialabba has written that Lasch did not turn rightward, but 'inward.' While many of Lasch's concerns and conclusions - principally that we have sacrificed virtue and community to the false idols of 'progress' and optimism- seem to be of a piece with the New Right, he is I think justified in at least raising the objection (as Jackson Le ...more
Cris
Feb 10, 2015 Cris rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alicia Fox
Sep 07, 2015 Alicia Fox rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
The first half of this book, covering the early history of the philosophy of progress, can easily be skipped over by the non-historian. The second half, however, would serve well as mandatory reading for all.
Raymonds009
Dec 22, 2010 Raymonds009 rated it really liked it
While this book should be entitled "a lengthy discussion of politics, ethics, philosophy and sociology during the last two centuries" it accomplishes two things very well. It makes you think about how we got to where we are now and why the heck people still don't question the very idea of progress. I may not have agreed with all of the author's statements and conclusions, but, it was always provocative. An exhausting and very difficult book to read but well worth the effort. Even if you only ski ...more
Jon
Jul 23, 2011 Jon added it
Very long but well worth the effort, Lasch's book examines the history of "progressive" thinking, and reactions to such thinking, since the 19th century and is probably the only historical work in which Ralph Waldo Emerson's and George Wallace's views are discussed with equal seriousness. More even-handed than earlier Lasch books such as THE CULTURE OF NARCISSISM, this is highly recommended to anyone interested in the many diverse philosophical issues covered herein.
Barbara
Feb 17, 2011 Barbara marked it as to-read
Another referral from Gatto's Weapons of Mass Instruction: Lasch apparently has quotes from Orestes Brownson who, in 1840, was denouncing a "conspiracy on the part of important men to subvert the Constitution, using norther Germany's rigid institution of forced schooling as its principal weapon."
Stephen Wolfe
Feb 16, 2013 Stephen Wolfe rated it it was amazing
This is an outstanding book on American progressivist thought and its critics. Packed with information and analysis.
Anna
Apr 29, 2011 Anna rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, challenging, somewhat exhausting, but everyone should read it. At its core, not at all dated.
Mark
Mark marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2016
Lizbit
Lizbit marked it as to-read
Aug 17, 2016
Seth Kalback
Seth Kalback marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2016
April
April marked it as to-read
Aug 13, 2016
ne
ne rated it liked it
Aug 09, 2016
Thomas
Thomas marked it as to-read
Aug 09, 2016
James
James marked it as to-read
Aug 04, 2016
Andrew
Andrew marked it as to-read
Aug 02, 2016
Claire
Claire marked it as to-read
Aug 01, 2016
Karolina
Karolina marked it as to-read
Aug 01, 2016
Andrew
Andrew marked it as to-read
Aug 01, 2016
Devyn
Devyn marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2016
Lynna
Lynna marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2016
Matthew Douglas
Matthew Douglas marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2016
Mark
Mark marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 16 17 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Democracy Is in the Streets: From Port Huron to the Siege of Chicago
  • Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture
  • Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich
  • The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age
  • Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity
  • The Quest For Community: A Study In The Ethics Of Order And Freedom (Ics Series In Self Governance)
  • The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud
  • Democracy's Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy
  • The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500-2000
  • Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925
  • The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War
  • Love and Friendship
  • Rewriting History
  • Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe
  • The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage
  • A Secular Age
  • The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846
  • Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders

Share This Book