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America

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3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,307 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
From the sierras of New Mexico to the streets of New York and LA by night—”a sort of luminous, geometric, incandescent immensity”—Baudrillard mixes aperçus and observations with a wicked sense of fun to provide a unique insight into the country that dominates our world. In this new edition, leading cultural critic and novelist Geoff Dyer offers a thoughtful and perceptive ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 20th 2010 by Verso (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,650)
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Nathaniel
Not unless I'm forced will I read another word by this absolute head-up-ass dreck-merchant. I was prepared to be a very sympathetic reader; I was primed and ready for some snappy and devastating criticisms of America; but Baudrillard is too concerned with manufacturing what he must think are theoretical pronouncements to actually observe his surroundings. He certainly didn't need to travel to write this shmarmy and useless rubbish pit of a book; he probably had the whole thing outlined before he ...more
Jen Padgett Bohle
For sure, Baudrillard is one of the rock stars of postmodernism, probably as much for his tentative connection with The Matrix as for his pronouncement that the first Gulf War didn't happen. One surely wouldn't expect any typical travel writing or sociology from him, even in a book titled America and billed as a collection of traveler's tales. This isn't Tocqueville elaborating, building arguments, and expounding on observations. This is Baudrillard at his postmodern haziest: playful, poetic, en ...more
Farzaneh Shafah
Nov 08, 2015 Farzaneh Shafah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"امريكا نه روياست، نه واقعيا. نوعي حاد واقعيت است. زيرا ارمانشهري است كه از همان ابتدا طوري رفتار كرده كه انكار بيشابيش تحقق يافته است"
تمام كتاب نشان دادن هاي ملموس و روزمره به زبان خاص و منحصر به فرد بودريار از ترازدي ارمان تحقق يافته امريكاست كه به معناي بايان هر ارمان در بي معناست.
بشت كتاب نوشته شده بود اين از اسان فهم ترين اثار بودرياره ولي به نظرم همراه شدن با كتاب صبر و حوصله زياد مي خواهد...شايد هم دليلش اين باشد كه ما تصوري از توصيف هاي جزيي ساختمان ها و خيابان ها و محله هاي نيويورك و م
...more
Carolyn
Baudrillard is a maniac.....but this made me want to visit the desert so bad.
Gavin
May 19, 2012 Gavin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Assorted and assembled quotes:

On desert: "The inhumanity of our ulterior, asocial, superficial world immediately finds its aesthetic form here, its ecstatic form. For the desert is simply that: an ecstatic critique of culture, an ecstatic form of disappearance. (pg.5)

On speed: "Speed is simply the rite that initiates us into emptiness, a nostalgic desire for from to revert to immobility, concealed beneath the very intensification of their mobility. Akin to the nostalgia for living forms that hau
...more
Tiredstars
France's least rigorous theorist takes on the United States.

America is a frustrating read. I've also read Simulations, and the two books have a lot in common. Both have the theoretical jargon, impenetrable passages and lack of care for readability. The technical words from other disciplines that you suspect Baudrillard doesn't actually understand (even relatively simple ones like "refract"). The faux-profundity (one of the insights is that the desert, for example, Death Valley, symbolises, um,
...more
Atlas Can
Jul 12, 2015 Atlas Can rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Like many other aspects of contemporary America, Santa Cruz is part of the post-orgy world, the world left behind after the great social and sexual convulsions. The refugees from the orgy - the orgy of sex, political violence, the Vietnam War, the Woodstock Crusade, and the ethnic and anti-capitalist struggles too, together with the passion for money, the passion for success, hard technologies etc., in short, the whole orgy of modernity - are all there, jogging along in their tribalism, which i ...more
Mohammad Ali
من در مورد این کتاب صرفا می تونم سکوت کنم. شاید ده درصدش رو "فکر می کنم" متوجه شدم. تازه اون ده درصد هم دلائلش نامعلومه - یعنی حرفی را زده ولی معلوم نیست چرا من باید آن حرف را قبول کنم.

کتاب غیر قابل فهم نوشتن اتلاف عمر خواننده که هست هیچ، اتلاف عمر نویسنده هم است؛ چون یا خودشم نمی فهمه یا خودش می فهمه. در حالت اول که واضحه اتلاف عمرش در حالت دوم از اولی بدتره چون آن چیزی رو که می دونه نمی تونه منتقل کنه

مترجم در پشت جلد نوشته این کتاب به گمان بسیاری جذاب ترین و قابل فهم ترین کتاب بودریاره. اگه ای
...more
Chris
May 08, 2015 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had hoped this book would be a sort of postmodern De Tocqueville reflection of America, and was rather disappointed that this turned out to be a sort of postmodern De Tocqueville reflection of America. Billed as a "collection of traveller's tales" from "France's leading philosopher," the book establishes itself as a work of postmodernism as the reader struggles to determine whether Baudrillard ever actually stepped foot in America. Despite a brief name-check of Minneapolis, generic description ...more
Tina
Jul 30, 2012 Tina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"America is powerful and original; America is violent and abominable. We should not seek to deny either of these aspects, nor reconcile them." Like Baudrillard, I have a paradoxical opinion of America: I find it both fascinating and a little ridiculous. I have a strange crush on the United States, and this book did exactly what I wanted it to do: dissect aspects of American culture through the guise of one who both appreciates the beauty and seduction that America has to offer, but also maintain ...more
Martin
May 29, 2014 Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow this book is fantastic. Probably reading it right after I came back from the eponymous America made it all the more resonant. Even though it was written like 30 years ago so many of his observations still strike the reader as very perceptive and pertinent. I actually smiled at some of his more incisive critiques, especially on the phenomenon of smiling in America. His main thrust is making a distinction between Europe and the USA, where in Europe, and France specifically, they are all obsess ...more
Adam
Jan 17, 2012 Adam rated it liked it
Basically the equivalent of traveling America with a nutty Frenchman by your side.

He's both interesting (sometimes hilarious and spot-on and incredibly observant) and totally off-base and silly.

But you have a good time in the end because he's good company.

I like the part where he explains why Americans lack the European pretentiousness and "ridiculous affectation."
Thad
Sep 07, 2015 Thad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"joggers are the latter day saints and the protagonists of an easy does it apocalypse. nothing evokes the end of the world more than a man running straight ahead on a beach, swathed in the sounds of his walkman, cocooned in the solitary sacrifice of his energy, indifferent even to catastrophes since he expects destruction to come only as the fruit of his efforts, from exhausting the energy of his body that has in his own eyes become useless. Primitives, when in despair, would commit suicide by s ...more
Jeffrey Jenkins
Feb 11, 2016 Jeffrey Jenkins rated it liked it
You can almost hear Baudrillard taking drags from his cigarette in between sentences as he plays the role of French postmodernist with aplomb. Some interesting writing on the desert and Los Angeles, though it evokes, perhaps intentionally, a kind of cinematic, ambient, crystallized image of the U.S.- like he was really into 80's Michael Mann cinematography and has based his whole view of America on that. Like you know he loved Jean Michel Jarre. The result isn’t so much a coherent theory of anyt ...more
Jim
Apr 29, 2010 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved his description of the nyc marathon. though it's not news to say that America "is a world completely rotten with wealth, power, senility, indifference, puritanism and mental hygiene"
Oguz Bayram
Jan 07, 2010 Oguz Bayram rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
post-modern world criticism, consumer humankind, meaningless and worthless life of an American, erosion of culture and value judgement
Scot
Apr 04, 2015 Scot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though slightly dated (written in 1989), Baudrillard's observations on what makes America tick and how Europe, nor the rest of the World will ever be like it are incredibly astute and thought-provoking. America is the place of the hyperreal, we do not ponder, we act. I was fascinated by his analogy of America as the desert and the replicating cities of NY (vertical) and LA (horizontal). He also presages the freeze in time as technology continues to consume us and again though it was written in t ...more
Tony Goriainoff
Aug 10, 2007 Tony Goriainoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book of his I read. Hard reading but only because every sentence carries a concept, or an idea. He will make you think.
Marissa Perel
Sep 12, 2008 Marissa Perel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's better than America
Alex Lee
I am not well-versed in Baudrillard. Nonetheless, it was given as a gift to me, and philosophy is something I am interested in. The comparisons to Roland Barthe's Empire of Signs is pretty apt. If you're expecting heavy philosophy, then forget it. If you are expecting a travelogue, as one reviewer said, you should forget that too.

America rests somewhere in the middle. America is a book less about a geographical place than it is a landmark. Baudrillard takes us to the cultural economic center, in
...more
Robert
Jan 24, 2014 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book I’ve been meaning to get to for a long while, America is an absolute treat—through Baudrillard’s eyes we see the United States through virgin light: to witness the sights and sounds and scenes and the people and our habits and customs. It creates dialog within oneself, a dialog that cuts through political ideologies and religious red-tape we face daily—the sorts of things that can be the cause of self-wars deep within our minds—and seeks to understand, simply, “What makes us tick?”

It’s an
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Cameron
Jan 02, 2013 Cameron rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
"America" is an exercise in mental masturbatory travel-logging, if ever one was written. Still, it's an interesting, abstract prose poem on Baudrillard's experience of America in the 1980s. There are some great ideas and aphorisms hidden within its pages: on the "limitless" horizontally sublime deserts (as well as the cities imposed upon them, like LA); the "hologram" of American uniformity (see: suburbs); the detachment from origins (especially in the West); the "mindless luxury" of American co ...more
Zara
Sep 11, 2007 Zara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Today…no performance can be without its control screen video…its goal is to be hooked up to itself.” “…the mirror phase has given way to the video phase.” “What develops around the video or stereo culture is not a narcissistic imaginary, but an effect of frantic self-referentiality, a short-circuit which immediately hooks up like with like, and, in doing so, emphasizes their surface intensity and deeper meaninglessness.” These pronouncements are particularly valuable to me in thinking about the ...more
Claire
Feb 23, 2014 Claire rated it liked it
Read for Making Americans module.
I loved the way this book was written. It was fundamentally a travel diary, I guess, but it was so much more than that. The narrative was beautiful - credit to the translator for that. What made this book so powerful to me was that it managed to encompass a pre-9/11 America in a really 'in-pointed way. I didn't agree with everything that he said, but he definitely managed to divulge something from America that I haven't seen from many writers on the subject.
El Zuco
Jul 27, 2010 El Zuco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This served as a great soft introduction to Baudrillard (with whom I'd been familiar before, but had never tackled) and is best read, in my opinion, as insightful travel literature. I've heard critiques of Baudrillard's views of LA and its simulacra saying that they exoticize too much, the person who sold me the book was of this opinion, but what would be travel literature without any exotic element? Besides, I think a lot of it rings true, and his perspective is much more nuanced than a lot of ...more
Brian Mccooley
May 27, 2014 Brian Mccooley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent look at the conceptual difference (or lack of) between America and the Old World, as long as one is willing to put aside their American-ness in an attempt to be objective and understand Baudrillard's sometimes hyperbolic or unfounded assertions for what they figuratively intend. America is convincingly described as the new, identity-less, history-less, postmodern "utopia," which can only lead us to a clearer self-understanding.
Yoon
Jun 02, 2008 Yoon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guttaandbutta
this is a book that nearly changed my life during college. i met this book when i didn;t even know what hyperrealism or whatever they call it existed...before i was bored to tears reading something about postmodernism...except though i did have a pretty good sense of what america meant to me like a good foreigner visiting the U.S.. i was at a big book store and picked up this book mostly because it said 'america' and nothing else, and the cover art was almost too funny and sad simultaneously i h ...more
Steven Felicelli
Baudrillard on Reaganite California (as metonym for America): "Mournful, monotonous and superficial . . . "

It could just as easily describe his book. He, as usual, takes an acorn of an insight and makes a sequoia out of it. His radical 'celebration' of America reads (between-lines) like a conservative's cautionary tale.

But there are few showmen like Baudrillard in Theory and America is, at the very least, entertaining and thought provoking (little more can be said about any of his work really)
...more
Yilmaz Taha
Mar 10, 2015 Yilmaz Taha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a lot of nice statements with a nice context. The only problem- at least for me- was the difficulty on understanding some sentences of Baudrillard but since it's my first Baudrillard experience maybe it's normal. Anyhow, was a good book with a lot of points to think about.
Cristina Popescu
A fascinating philosophical and sociological travelogue. This is a superbly written book, whose analytical prowess transforms it in an infinitely quotable work. As fascinating as the desert it depicts. Highly recommended.
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Exoticism in Baudrillard's 'America' 3 9 Apr 28, 2014 12:09AM  
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Jean Baudrillard (27 July 1929 – 6 March 2007) was a French sociologist, philosopher, cultural theorist, political commentator, and photographer. His work is frequently associated with postmodernism and post-structuralism.

Jean Baudrillard was also a Professor of Philosophy of Culture and Media Criticism at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he taught an Intensive Summer S
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“There is nothing more mysterious than a TV set left on in an empty room. It is even stranger than a man talking to himself or a woman standing dreaming at her stove. It is as if another planet is communicating with you.” 62 likes
“…sense of futility that comes from doing anything merely to prove to yourself that you can do it: having a child, climbing a mountain, making some sexual conquest, committing suicide.
The marathon is a form of demonstrative suicide, suicide as advertising: it is running to show you are capable of getting every last drop of energy out of yourself, to prove it… to prove what? That you are capable of finishing. Graffiti carry the same message. They simply say: I’m so-and-so and I exist! They are free publicity for existence.
Do we continually have to prove to ourselves that we exist? A strange sign of weakness, harbinger of a new fanaticism for a faceless performance, endlessly self-evident.”
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