For Common Things is quick to make pronouncements along the lines of "Today's young people are adept with phrases that reduce personality to symptoms," without mentioning that it was their therapy-happy baby boomer parents who introduced words like passive-aggressive and repressed into their vocabulary--and without broaching the possibility that it was the combined failure of the '60s counterculture movement and the loss of faith in government attendant to the Watergate scandal that nurtured cynicism and ironic detachment within the boomers. (Well, perhaps solving the problem is more important than assigning the blame.) At times, the Harvard-educated author's erudition gets the best of him, and his prose takes on a certain academic stiffness. (One wonders, at such moments, if perhaps the book has its roots in a senior thesis.) But when Purdy focuses on personal matters related to his homeschooled West Virginia upbringing, one can detect traces of a passion and intensity that would be well worth developing in future writings. Which is not to say that Purdy doesn't feel strongly about the restoration of civic commitment; this book stands as proof that he does. But anybody can--and many people do--make impersonal assessments of the state of the world; there is a story, however, that only Jedediah Purdy can tell us about community and responsibility. The traces of that story in For Common Things may leave many readers clamoring for more details. --Ron Hogan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Need a dictionary to read though, this guy really packs a vocabularyPublished 14 days ago by Sergio Campbell
Ramblings of television shows, authors, philosophers, media of the 1990's, et al with no offering of beneficial enlightenment at all. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Shep
Purdy is a national treasure~! A great critical thinker~! Wonderful food-for-thought book. Buy it, read it, think~!
Although I am a conservative and probably disagree with some of Purdy's specific policy recommendations, I appreciate and agree with his tone and his conception of the nature of... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Michael Lucchese
This book's purpose is to be a wake-up call for all of us who grew complacent to what happens with our society. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
As I read this book I think that it does not hold up well after September, 2001 when so many aspects of our country changed. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Juneva Kate
An enjoyable book. The writer, Purdy, this fabulous hayseed (coming from one), is about as credulous as it gets. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Dan Crytser
I find it kind of funny that one of the reviews on the back cover says this book is "unpretentious", as "pretentious" is one of the first words I'd use to describe the book. Read morePublished on December 10, 2011 by BraMaster
This boy's running for office when he turns thirty-five, you bet your bippy. And he'll be a Yale graduate by then, so he'll have what it takes to win. Read morePublished on October 3, 2010 by Hot Dog Sam