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A Bee in the Mouth: Anger in America Now Hardcover – January 4, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (January 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594030537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594030536
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,952,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Wood has written for 'Partisan Review' and other publications. He is a Professor of Anthropology and Associate Provost at Boston University.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A BEE IN THE MOUTH: ANGER IN AMERICA NOW considers issues of 'social anger', or how the anger in American society has become not only excessive but glorified. College-level collections strong in social sciences in particular will find here a unique survey of evidence of the 'new anger' dominating American culture, from politics to music. Chapters analyze how this anger has manifested itself throughout society, how it affects relationships, ideals and goals, and how it differs from 'anger' of the past. An intriguing title, perfect for classroom discussion.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Wight Martindale on December 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Wood's study of anger and self-righteousness, 'A Bee in the Mouth,' may go unnoticed by many big time book reviewers, but the topic is central to American public life today. Nothing better explains the acrimonious divisions between Democrats and Republicans when they get to Washington (at home they are more civil). Nothing explains better angry music and the cage combat of Spike TV. Finally, nothing will be a more reliable corrective to the current divisions in our society, which we will have to resolve over the next decade.
America is in a 1960s-like moment, only more so. We are spending too much and we can't make the payments any longer. Public unions are becoming a public problem. This, rather than the racial and social divisions of fifty years ago, will dominate public debate, and this book is the key to understanding the rhetoric you will hear. It will also help all of us to calm ourselves down. Wood's book concludes with a call for 'Cooling off,' long overdue.
Get it. Read it. You will be a better person for it, and America will be a happier place if more of us take Wood's message seriously.
Wight Martindale
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25 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L. Henry on October 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Bee Review

Daniel L. Henry

A National Public Radio interview with rhetoric and anthropology professor Peter Wood convinced me that I should read A Bee in the Mouth: Anger in America Now. A rhetorician myself, I was charged by the notion of a respected colleague taking on the pervasive volcanism that currently flows through American communication behavior. My feelings toward vitriol, especially the steroidal indignation that Wood claims is in vogue--approximates that, I imagine, of most NPR listeners. It sounds to me like the claxon call of cultural implosion. Unlike most, however, I take copious notes.

When Aristotle wrote The Rhetoric in 250 B.C., he called it the "art of using all available means to persuade." Those who admit to being rhetoricians acknowledge our devotion to the argument--its causes, impacts, and implications. Scholars know to examine equally the messages arising from prominent camps, say Democrats and Republicans, or developers and environmentalists. It's a conversation. You scaffold on the messages of the other. Rhetoric happens when you give your reasons for going to a specific movie, present yourself in an interview, or explain to your teenager why she can't use the car this weekend. It takes at least two for a rhetorical tango. A bee in one mouth can provoke hives in others.

The opening chapters of A Bee in the Mouth touch on many of the causes and mouthpieces contributing to our national dysphoria--the 2000 presidential election, religion, Iraq, popular music, Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson. I can buy that. After he adequately establishes his thesis that we have a serious communication breakdown, Wood declares that his "aim is neither to cure anger nor enhance its undoubted pleasures.
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