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All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity Paperback – June 7, 1988

ISBN-13: 978-0140109627 ISBN-10: 0140109625 Edition: Reissue

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 383 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reissue edition (June 7, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140109625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140109627
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for All That Is Solid Melts Into Air The imaginative range, intellectual force and infectious generosity of this book are what place it incontestably in the gallery of canonical texts.A" Mica Nava, Times Higher Education Supplement A bubbling cauldron of ideas.A" New Statesman A wonderful book ... generous, exuberant and dazzling.A" John Leonard, New York Times Berman lights up every text he examines.A" Newsweek --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Marshall Berman is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at City College of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center. He writes frequently for The Nation and The Village Voice, and serves on the editorial board of Dissent. His books include Adventures in Marxism, The Politics of Authenticity and, most recently, On the Town, all from Verso. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 110 people found the following review helpful By karl b. on January 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Goethe and Marx, these are cardinal figures in the history of modernity. Goethe, the spiritual father of its grand visions and inexhaustible hope. Marx, the outsider, the witness to the sorcery of its soul and that of its organizing principle, Capital. His charge-- it is an artifice of progressively concentrating energy that will not be bound by any responsibility or shared purpose. The practical result is a constant breakdown of community and institutions as they are offered to the flame of re-invention. This is the core of the book's message. Nothing is permanent in the modernist domain. Art, city, ideals, country-- all are subsumed into new solids that immediately fracture and evaporate under pressure of another oncoming order, crashing in with waves of reorganization. The technologies of its own genius are its tools. The post-structural epoch is merely another phase of modernism's relentless push to incinerate the old and recreate society in its own frenzied image. Iconoclasm becomes the coordinating edict. The erasure of all cultural memory is implicit; moral purpose is desanctified; Capital's own ethos is elevated to the realm of faith.
Berman moves from the literary and intellectual movements of France and Russia into the streets. The building of St. Petersburg, with its imposed occidental face on Russia's traditionally oriental sensibilities, the boulevards of Paris's reconstruction of the 1870's, and the highways of the irrepressible Robert Moses-- the urban landscape has chronicled modernism's advance. The breadth of this thesis in choosing such disparate symbols to exemplify the progression is impressive, as is Berman's ability to synthesize them.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By S. Lichtman on September 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
I first bought this book on a whim during my political science college days, but found great enjoyment and lasting insights. It's been a regular re-read on my shelf for the last 15 years. Most of all, the book unveils the themes of innovation, turmoil and renewal that are the hallmark of the last few hundred years. I came to realize, reading Berman's reviews of Marx', Goethe's and others writing that we have become so embedded in constantly changing times that we have accepted all its characteristics without question. I now think much more carefully about what precepts of being 'busy', acquiring luxury items, altering my personality for business/social situations, etc are worthwhile. ...OK, this sounds too deep for many but the book is written with inspiration, is enjoyable and gives people something important to think about.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Edward Tsai on September 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this book a long time ago in college for a lit crit class. While admittedly I don't recall much detail of it, I do remember that it was one of few books I read in that class and many other lit crit classes that was lucid, cogent and clear in its argument and analysis. As a testament to its merit, it has remained on my bookshelf after all the others have been sold off to used bookstores. Moreover, it gave me one of the key insights about modernity that have remained with me to this day, and which has been useful in understanding why certain anti-modern societies resist modernization and why our contemporary society is so schizophrenic. That insight is that no tradition, which inherently protects realms of privilege, can be maintained in the face of the onslaught of the profit-driven motive underlying capitalism, which will always seek out new markets to exploit, such as the unexploited market as protected by tradition.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ari Ylönen on March 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have known the book by reputation in several texts of urban sociology. The book, however, is much more than most writers have implied. The profound knowledge of Berman about European cultural history is admirable and helpful for getting a deeper understanding of the development of ideas of modern.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David C. Scheltema on February 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read the book if you want a broad approach to modernism. One should enter the first pages of this book with some understanding of a dialectical approach, though they need not be read in Hegel. Most importantly one should have read Marx --Tucker has a good companion that will suffice as a primer. Some familiarity of the Faust stories --preferably with main understanding regarding the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe work, though Berman is not exclusive however he does work the reader through alternative instantiations. Baudelaire may prove the most inaccessible chapter for most --be aware that the focus here is not on Flowers of Evil, but on some of the essay works.

This is a short book that may be difficult for some who are not well read. It is worth the time to do some pre-reading to fill in the book and enable the reader to engage Berman's claims, rather than read and nod at his assertions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brown on June 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
Berman's work is brilliant on two levels: the breadth of his scholarship and interest and his excellent writing skills. What is so refreshing is his ability to draw together such disparate subjects and themes in this text. I read this along with a few friends and both were truly engaged and enthusiastic about it for the same reasons. It is so pleasant to read someone speaking about ideology who has a distance from it which allows real criticism, rather than the intellectually simple, obligatory scolding for its failings. I do not want to write an extensive, verbose review, others will suffice. Read the book and investigate his others.
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