anthony e.'s Reviews > The Thing Itself: On the Search for Authenticity

The Thing Itself by Richard Todd
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's review
Jan 10, 2009

really liked it
Read in March, 2012

I was a little surprised by this work. Initially recommended to me, it had been maybe two years until I finally got around to reading it, and in the initial pages I thought that I had made a colossal mistake in taking it up. Richard Todd seemed too smug, the work seemed a little too self-important and dense...all in all, it seemed just a little off base from what I was wanting to be reading.

I was wrong. While not a MAGNIFICENT work, Todd's examination of the authentic (and lack thereof) at the very least deployed a number of really fascinating works in its agenda, leading to a longer personal list of things to read. But beyond that, the way Todd opens up through the course of the text, generates the very sort of authenticity he speaks about. As the pages slip by (it is really quite well written), Todd becomes more personable, becomes the kind of man who you come to like despite your initial misgivings. And the subject matter itself is so unique, so complex to tease out, that Todd's choices for how to address it (media, politicians, the country, nature, love, and more) give a full, wizened perspective on that which we all crave, but can scarcely define.


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