Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Waiting for the Barbarians” as Want to Read:
Waiting for the Barbarians
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Waiting for the Barbarians

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  43 Ratings  ·  6 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)
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 Waiting for the Barbarians, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Waiting for the Barbarians

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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.
Mar 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Searing, prescient political essays by the editor of Harper's from the 90's capture that time and this one in exquisite prose. "Given our American belief that money is the alpha and omega of human existence and the god from which all blessings flow, who better to serve as Pontifex Maximus and chief priest of the American civil religion than a figure already encased in gold?"
Jun 22, 2009 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
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
rated it really liked it
Jul 19, 2016
rated it liked it
Nov 25, 2010
rated it liked it
Oct 13, 2014
Jessica Gordon
rated it liked it
Aug 03, 2011
Kelly Ross
rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2015
Peter Geyer
rated it really liked it
Jan 25, 2016
rated it liked it
May 24, 2014
rated it liked it
Oct 30, 2008
rated it did not like it
Aug 13, 2008
rated it it was ok
Jan 25, 2009
rated it it was amazing
Dec 30, 2008
rated it liked it
Sep 18, 2008
rated it really liked it
Sep 03, 2011
rated it liked it
Nov 29, 2007
rated it it was ok
Aug 14, 2015
Parallel Internets
rated it it was amazing
Apr 04, 2013
rated it liked it
Nov 28, 2008
rated it really liked it
Jul 29, 2013
rated it really liked it
Aug 19, 2007
Benjamin Brown
rated it really liked it
Nov 02, 2011
rated it liked it
Aug 17, 2010
rated it liked it
May 05, 2013
rated it really liked it
Mar 20, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Aug 13, 2007
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
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...