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Waiting for the Barbarians

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  33 ratings  ·  5 reviews
After two centuries of experiment with the theories of the Enlightenment and the volatile substances of democracy, America’s leading citizens have come to believe that they have safely arrived at the end of history. Substituting the wonder of money for the work of politics, (a dirty business best left to the hired help), the owners of the nation’s capital take comfort in t ...more
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published November 17th 1997 by Verso (first published November 1997)
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Jun 22, 2009 Stop added it
Read the STOP SMILING interview with author Lewis Lapham

Q&A: Lewis Lapham
By JC Gabel

(This interview originally appeared in STOP SMILING The Downfall of American Publishing Issue)

Stop Smiling: You started your career as a reporter at The San Francisco Examiner. Do you find it strange that going to journalism school has become such a prestigious accomplishment? When you were coming up, it was much more a trade profession where you learned on the job. Do you think that might be what's wrong wit
If you're a politics nut, this is almost like a bathroom book. The essays are of a short(ish) length, and contain Lapham's trademark piercing insight into American culture. If there's anything negative about it, it's that it reads more like a pile of his old work with Harper's magazine than it does more robust pieces written for a book/edition. Take notice of the eponymous poem at the start of the book, by C.P. Cavafy. It's good.
Most everything by Lapham is worth reading, if only for his command of English, which I think might be unparalleled among living authors, at least in America. This collection from around the GWB era deals with many of the events of that time, and is a useful account of what transpired then. Worth having as a reminder of things that have long since fallen into the memory hole.
Jun 17, 2008 Mel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers of Harpers or Walrus who like progressive commentary
Shelves: mel-4-star-reads
In a sense, I read this book by accident. Someone had recommended the Cotzee book of the same title, and I didn't realize the error. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the rant on modern culture and politics from the former editor of Harper's magazine and would read it again.
I loved his essays in Harpers, but it is one thing to read them once a month and another to read them all back to back.
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Lewis Henry Lapham was the editor of Harper's Magazine from 1976 until 1981, and again from 1983 until 2006. He is the founder and current editor of Lapham's Quarterly, featuring a wide range of famous authors devoted to a single topic in each issue. Lapham has also written numerous books on politics and current affairs.

Lapham's Quarterly
More about Lewis H. Lapham...
Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and the Stifling of Democracy Lapham’s Quarterly: Comedy Money and Class in America:  Notes and Observations on the Civil Religion Lapham's Quarterly: Eros Lapham's Quarterly: Animals

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