Automotive Holiday Deals Books Holiday Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Movember Martha Stewart American Made Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Gift Card Offer minions minions minions  Amazon Echo Starting at $84.99 Kindle Black Friday Deals Classics and Essentials in CDs & Vinyl Shop Now HTL

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Good
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

America Paperback – September 17, 1989

23 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
Paperback, September 17, 1989
$1.94 $0.01

There is a newer edition of this item:

In Stock.

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Available from these sellers.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Like de Tocqueville before him, Baudrillard, a French social scientist, is in search of the American ethos. His little essay, however, lacks the substance, perspicacity, and originality of a Democracy in America . Rather, Baudrillard's analysis tends to be grandiloquent and sometimes hackneyed, as when he observes "Americans believe in facts, but not in facticity , " and "The cinema and TV are America's reality!" In addition, the book is overpriced. Not recommended. Kenneth F. Kister, Poynter Inst. for Media Studies, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“[O]ccasionally provocative and almost always infuriating ... America is filled with perceptive, almost poetic observations.”—Rolling Stone

“Since de Toqueville, French thinkers have been fascinated with America. But when it comes to mysterious paradoxes and lyrical complexity no French intellectual matches Jean Baudrillard in contemplating the New World... [He] has become a sharp-shooting Lone Ranger of the post-Marxist left.”—The New York Times

“A mixture of crazy notions and dead-on insights, America is a valuable (and voluble) picture of what Mr. Baudrillard calls ‘the only remaining primitive society’ ... ours.”—The New York Times Book Review

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 129 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; Reprint edition (September 17, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860919781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860919780
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,327,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 63 people found the following review helpful By John David Ebert on April 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Since his recent death, there has been a lot of Baudrillard bashing in the media. He is variously written off as a "comedian of ideas," as obscurantist, as saying everything about nothing and nothing about everything. But this is completely inaccurate since Baudrillard was one of the great minds produced out of the 1960s philosophical explosion in France. His prose is difficult, admittedly. But then so is Heidegger, Immanuel Kant, Gilles Deleuze, etc. Would it be wise to characterize these men as having nothing important to say because of the difficulty involved in working through their dense prose? Of course not.

"America" provides the novice with a good in-road to his thinking, since Baudrillard is more relaxed and informal in these meditations upon what, after all, is a very informal land, indeed. The interesting thing about this book is that Baudrillard's attitude toward American culture--and this is certainly atypical of the average Euro thinker--is not condescending. This is a Frenchman (for a change) who is genuinely fascinated by America and its kitschy world of movie screens, parking lots, freeways, strip malls and airports. What fascinates him, in particular, as he writes in his chapter on "Utopia Achieved," is how American society represents such a radical break with history. It is an achieved utopia that has fled from the nightmare of world history and managed to succeed in erecting a civilization in which that very history is denied and largely ignored. Thus, the ahistorical cities of the American Southwest, and L.A. in particular, are places where events with inward cultural significance no longer take place. Instead, it is a world in which history has been replaced by historical simulacra in theme parks like Disneyland or the Getty Museum or Venice Beach.
Read more ›
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By David Ciaffardini VINE VOICE on October 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Here you can read a modern French philosopher's impressions of America. The author writes poetically and impressionistically about his visits to California and New York and points in between. He is simultaneously impressed, charmed, confounded, curious, and intrigued by this big country and its people, in contrast to Europe and Europeans. This is not so much a travelogue, but rather a gentle and thoughtful dissection of American culture, done in drive-by fashion, taking in the architecture, billboards, men and women on the sidewalks, the corner stop-and-shops, the geography, the highways, deserts, even the skies. This is not a book putting down America, as one might eroneously assume, but neither is it a pat-on-the-back. For American readers, it will serve as a mirror that reflects striking realities, both flattering and not, that, nevertheless, have become so common to us Americans that they are practically invisible to us, if not for the insightful light shined by this urbane French writer. Think of this book as a French impressionistic painting of America,--more in the "people-caught-in-the-act" style of Manet, rather than Monet with his lillies and haystacks--where the mundane, the ugly, the beautiful and the grandiose blend into a composition of insight, harmony and even-handed judgement of the particulars.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By greggodwin on January 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
Sure it's snobbish, and sure its condescending and overtly pretentious (Baudrillard's irony cuts both ways, because he admits this point about Europeans), but dry and dull - never. As stream of consciousness travelogue it clicks into the desert mode immediately, pure beatitude and horizonal text. Like Kerouac with brains, Baudrillard attempts to dissect American culture but ends up coming over more wide-eyed and niave than the Dhama bum could ever acchieve. The only real concrete attempt at discussing America comes in the final chapter where Baudrillard turns towards the simulated power-state the nation has become, and as always the ideas are beyond reproach. Despite it's alientated ignorance and innocence (Baudrillard confused in 'utopia-acchieved') this is a ravishing and colourful text that has few peers in modern cultural deconstruction.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Peter Korchnak on April 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Visiting and then writing about the U.S. has a solid tradition among the French, but it's safe to say the late Jean Beaudrillard`s 1986 work"America" hasn't made the list of books covering their country that Americans would showcase. Even the most cynical among my new compatriots would hesitate to call their country "a giant hologram," a "blank solitude," or a "narcissistic refraction." Abstract hyperbole defines Beaudrillard's "America."

On the ground, it is the desert that defines Beaudrillard's America. He can't get enough of it because "you are delivered from all depth there--a brilliant, mobile, superficial neutrality, a challenge to meaning and profundity, a challenge to nature and culture, an outer hyperspace, with no origin, no reference-points." America is simply a vast space--it is "the very form of thought."

The focus on space renders the narrative static, suspended in a timeless void. America "lives in a perpetual present." This is how Beaudrillard approaches travel: outside of time. His trip is "without any objective," without a purpose or destination, and thus endless. He floats through the country, freeway to highway, motel to rest stop, town to city. The privilege allows him to over-generalize, albeit delivered from all depth. Any visitor to this country will generalize, drawing conclusions that reinforce the stereotypes; Beaudrillard joins the distinguished club of fellow French philosophers who base sweeping statements about a complex culture on a single trip.

Beaudrillard, who had earlier developed a theory of simulacra and simulation, sees America as "neither dream, nor reality. It is a hyperreality because it is a utopia which has behaved from the very beginning as though it were already achieved." His America is the original desert of the real.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: world history