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Generation at the Crossroads: Apathy and Action on the American Campus Reprint Edition

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 000-0813522560
ISBN-10: 0813522560
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Compared to their 1960s counterparts, contemporary college students have been described as selfish, greedy, apathetic and unconcerned with higher ideals. But the truth, Loeb (Nuclear Culture) asserts, is more complicated. Interweaving insightful analyses of major social and political shifts during recent decades with anecdotal personal histories of dozens of students at more than 100 campuses in 30 states, Loeb asserts reasons for the apparent apathy of this generation and finds that activism is still important for college students. Although he writes from a partisan viewpoint, plainly believing that more students should be politically involved, the author sympathetically treats even those subjects who are not, while exploring the various social and economic pressures that have prevented many from taking activist stands. Replacing a facile stereotype of a self-centered generation with a more complex portrait of a diverse group of individuals facing a host of both personal and systemic challenges, this study is revisionist social history at its best.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Readers who question the media's facile stereotypes of Generation X will find author and lecturer Loeb's probing analysis, based on years of research and interviews on more than 100 college campuses around the country, perceptive and enlightening. Thoughtfully exploring the attitudes of both apolitical and activist students, Loeb examines the core convictions--on individual power and responsibility, on human nature and history, and on the workings of U.S. society--that lead many students to declare "I'm not that kind of person" when urged to get involved, while a growing minority responds with "I had to take a stand." Loeb also sketches the changing context in which college students make those choices, addressing the roots of a growing campus activism (including economic pressures that threaten to close college doors to working-class and middle-class students); the distortions and disinformation central to a conservative attack on "political correctness"; and activist students' postcollege search for meaningful ways to maintain their commitment to the common good. A wide-ranging, insightful study of the complexities obscured by reductionist notions like "slackers" and "the MTV Generation." Mary Carroll --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press; Reprint edition (August 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813522560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813522562
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,202,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Rogat Loeb has spent thirty-five years researching and writing about citizen responsibility and empowerment--asking what makes some people choose lives of social commitment, while others abstain, and exploring how to find the hope to stay engaged despite all the frustrations and barriers. Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Challenging Time has over 100,000 copies in print and St Martin's will publish a wholly revised edition out in April 2010. The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear (Basic Books, 2004), was named the #3 political book of fall 2004 by the History Channel and American Book Association, won the Nautilus Award for best social change book, and was one of six books selected for the Sierra Club's new common reading groups. He's also the author of Generation at the Crossroads: Apathy & Action on the American Campus, Nuclear Culture, and Hope in Hard Times. An Affiliate Scholar at Seattle's Center for Ethical Leadership, he's written for the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Psychology Today, Utne Reader, Mother Jones, The Nation, Redbook, Huffington Post, the International Herald Tribune and the Christian Science Monitor, been interviewed on CNN, NPR, C-SPAN, NBC news, CBC, and the BBC, and lectured at 400 colleges throughout the country and numerous national and international conferences. He also created and ran Campus Compact's 2008 Campus Election Engagement Project, which helped colleges and universities in 15 states engage their students in the election, and his 2002 talk to the American Association of State Colleges & Universities inspired that association's 200-campus American Democracy Project. See www.paulloeb.org

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Format: Hardcover
I think Loeb really gets to the point about what drives and motivates much of my generation, the 20-somethings and early 30-somethings. He knew back in early '90s how young people felt: what their attitudes and understanding were on our society, our nation's institutions (goverment, media, business, special interest groups), and our hopes for the future were like.
And what he knows is still true and will continue to be true in the years to come. Loeb's interviews gave him a strong understanding of why the young, intelligent, hard-working people of America would feel so disenchanted, disillusioned, and (deep down) betrayed by the purveyors (our so-called leaders) of politics and activism.
Part of it is the lessened sense of security about the future. Part of it is the futility felt when listening to yet another campaign promise, or the shame felt when seeing others more active and involved than oneself - causing one to hide in apathy from the former, while lashing out at the activist "saints" in the latter case.
If you want to understand more about what's going on in the minds of today's youth regarding politics and activism from a sympathetic, yet objective, point of view, I recommend that you read this book. The first step towards rejuvenation of a thriving political spirit is to understand the depths of its decline and the reasons for it.
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Generation at the Crossroads: Apathy and Action on the American Campus
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