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The Pursuit of Loneliness: America's Discontent and the Search for a New Democratic Ideal
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The Pursuit of Loneliness: America's Discontent and the Search for a New Democratic Ideal

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4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  166 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
In a classic indictment of American individualism and isolationism, Philip Slater analyzes the great ills of modern society-violence, competitiveness, inequality, and the national 'addiction' to technology.
Paperback, 20th Anniversary Edition, 208 pages
Published July 1st 1990 by Beacon Press
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Andrew
This is a really great diagnosis of a historical moment, but it's still applicable today. So man of the problems that Slater describes remain endemic: the bullshit libertarian ideal, the failings of child-rearing technique, the rough transition from modernity to postmodernity, the Oedipal apparatus of American society, etc. etc. Recommended for any lover of sociology, psychology, or American studies.
Lisa
Jun 26, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Even though this was written in 1970, sadly enough the social commentary is as applicable today. This book does a great job of dissecting the American psyche and pointing out what needs to change for us to survive as a viable community. While some of the examples are a bit dated (there's a lengthy discussion of the Vietnam war and frequent unironic use of the term Hippie), the commentary is no less relevant, considering we are still entering into these wars with the absurd notion that we are doi ...more
Tara
Sep 13, 2010 Tara rated it it was amazing
Oh, this was just very, very good. I loved his ideas and his prose. It may sound strange, but after some of the other things I've been reading, I actually found this more uplifting. He likes people, and he sympathizes with how we got into this mess, while still being very clear about: hey, yeah, this is an enormous fucking disaster. I liked the guy.
Reid
Oct 05, 2015 Reid rated it it was amazing
Excellent diagnosis of the country's malignancies, including our ultra-violence, and, published in 1970, predictive of the powerful conservative backlash. Much of it rests on the purposely generated myth of scarcity, which keeps our noses to the grindstone, and our ever competition-based and market driven status anxiety keeping us focused on ourselves rather than even the idea of community. Everyone should read it, and I have the feeling that everyone in politics probably HAS read it and kept it ...more
David Fulmer
May 01, 2014 David Fulmer rated it really liked it
This book, first published in 1970 and updated in 1976, provides an interpretation of the sweeping cultural changes which visited American culture beginning in the 1960s and forever altered attitudes towards work, family, women, cities, and American history. It’s an academic literary document which critiques the American character and offers a few suggestions for reform which would broaden and deepen happiness throughout society.

Philip Slater begins by contrasting individualism, which he points
...more
Evanhinkle
Apr 24, 2009 Evanhinkle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite possibly the best book I have ever read. The introduction grabbed me and I didn't put it down until I finished.
Fran
Sep 26, 2012 Fran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The information is as necessary today as it was in the 60's, this should be required reading.
Kenny
Dec 20, 2015 Kenny rated it really liked it
I was confused sometimes with Slater's tightly wound language. There were some snaky paragraphs and sentences that should have been re-written for clarity's sake, leaving ponderous points fairly missed. (I have the original 1970 publication) However, I mostly enjoyed the read. And I really enjoyed the sentiment. Despite the Viet Nam era spacetime, this book has got me thinking about how I can make changes in my life to regain intimacy with myself, my fellow man, and love for may community and my ...more
maha
Oct 25, 2014 maha rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology
طلبت الكتاب من المكتبة..

مبدئيا، لدي خواطر بخصوص المجتمعات المتحضرة التي أصبحت تميل نحو الفردية،
individualism
وهي أن هناك ثمن يدفعه بعض الأفراد عندما تحررهم من نفوذ المجموعة: الوحدة
نحن في عصر تزداد فيه وسائل الاتصال الاجتماعي، ولكن بعضنا يسقط في حفرة الوحدة. لدينا تليفون، فيس بوك، تويتر، ولكن لا احد يدق، لا أحد يرسل، ولا أحد يتابع..
وللسخرية، هذه الأدوات من المفروض انها زادت الاتصال، ومع ذلك، فقد زادت عزلة البعض واحساسهم بأنهم منبوذون..

أصبح حتى انجاب الأطفال عبثيا، لأنه ليس من المتوقع منهم، في ال
...more
mis fit
Dec 30, 2014 mis fit rated it liked it
there's a lot of good stuff in here that is still relevant today (some parts more than others though). u.s. society makes for some really lonely, frustrated, violent people, and our individualistic attempts to address these issues often lead to more frustration. his critique of consumerism is not exactly earth shattering, but an important reminder nonetheless. it's definitely wise to ask who shapes our desires and who benefits from our attempts to satisfy them... and if there's healthier ways to ...more
Suni Jo
Dec 30, 2014 Suni Jo rated it it was amazing
This book has some great cultural and political commentary. With some passages I found myself nodding in agreement. This book illustrates why, in 1982, Philip Slater was chosen by Ms. Magazine as a "male hero".
Jack Weisberg
Dec 27, 2014 Jack Weisberg rated it it was amazing
Powerful and life changing, especially for young Americans seeking answers.
Jon
Nov 04, 2013 Jon rated it it was amazing
Although the wars and technology have changed, this is rematkably current and astute for a 40 year old book. Worth a read, worth a buy.
Stephen
Greta book. Well thought out and a preemptive warning of the times at hand now.
Dave Eccles
Jan 09, 2010 Dave Eccles is currently reading it
On rereading, it still explains what's wrong with American culture.
thecrx
Jul 08, 2008 thecrx marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Referenced in A Pattern Language.
Scott
Aug 07, 2011 Scott rated it really liked it
Still relevant after all these years.
David
Aug 24, 2008 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
brilliant
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Philip Slater was an author, actor, playwright, and sociologist. He taught sociology at Harvard, Brandeis, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. He obtained a doctorate from Harvard.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/30/boo...
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“We fear storms and wild beasts, but we do not censor them. If we must guard ourselves from evil influences we thereby admit their seductive appeal.” 7 likes
“At a conservative estimate, there are probably a million men and women in their twenties and thirties who would happily work long hours doing what most needs to be done, if they were paid something for it.” 6 likes
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