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On Ambivalence: The Problems and Pleasures of Having it Both Ways
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On Ambivalence: The Problems and Pleasures of Having it Both Ways

3.10  ·  Rating details ·  41 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Why is it so hard to make up our minds? Adam and Eve set the template: Do we or don’t we eat the apple? They chose, half-heartedly, and nothing was ever the same again. With this book, Kenneth Weisbrode offers a crisp, literate, and provocative introduction to the age-old struggle with ambivalence.

Ambivalence results from a basic desire to have it both ways. This is only n
Hardcover, 88 pages
Published March 2012 by The MIT Press (first published February 13th 2012)
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Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: the insufficiently ambivalent
I met the MIT Press booth at Wordstock last summer, and I had to have at least one of their gorgeously designed & bound books. Because I'm cheap, I bought the smallest one -- this treatise On Ambivalence. I wanted a tiny, pretty book-object to tuck in my pocket or stick my nose in on the light rail, and I got one. Given those criteria, I don't have much right to criticize the contents.

Having said that ... this is one of those documents that academics churn out which seem intended to demonstrate
No joke, I'm ambivalent about this book - and I'm relieved most reviewers seem to be so, too. Not a brilliant essay or argument by any means, but it does get more intriguing toward the end, talking about Obama's ability to make hay out of our society's ambivalence, and talking about war and peace and how there are no clear victories anymore, with so many outside actors and interests involved. He's getting into globalism and our difficulty with it, and how sometimes not taking action is the bette ...more
Jesse Ballenger
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Took me the longest time to read this little book. I started it many times over the past few years, enjoyed what I read well enough, but just couldn't bring myself to finish it. The book itself provides a thoughtful explanation.
Mar 12, 2012 rated it liked it
This is an essay in book form--the 88 pages are each only as big as my hand. The dearness of the package and the title persuaded me to make an impulse buy. I'm not sure it was worth my hard-earned pennies, and yet I do find it an appealing litle book to contemplate just as an object, and the one illustration is lovely--a reproduction of a 15th c. painting of Adam and Eve. They're the father and mother of ambivalence (thanks guys), which, according to Weisbrode, has become an unfortunate and defi ...more
Cody McCoy
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Not so much a book, but an essay on ambivalence. For me the most insightful part of the book was this sentence:

"the ambivalent soul will probably want all of the above, and more: to enjoy the benefits without the costs; to value and to overcome the luxury of idleness; in other words, to have it both ways"
Jul 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book did bot make me any cleverer. Finished it, although rather quickly, but with a feeling that the author did not want anyone who is not super elite academic to understand what he is trying to say. In other words: This book made me feel stupid.
Mar 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Really, an essay that interestingly links all the most prominent examples of ambivalence in western cultural production then results in the unsatisfying conclusion that it may be noble to be stuck in the middle.
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Kenneth Weisbrode is Assistant Professor of History at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.
His specialist research area is the history of diplomacy, with a focus on American and European history of the 20th century. Within this field, he is concerned with the relations of official institutions – principally foreign offices – to informal diplomatic networks in the Atlantic region. His dissertation

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