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The Greening of America, 25th Anniversary Edition Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 433 pages
  • Publisher: CROWN TRADE PAPERBACKS; 1 edition (October 3, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517886367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517886366
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #929,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The 25th Anniversary of the Groundbreaking Classic. "If there was any doubt about the need for social transformation in 1970, that need is clear and urgent today....I am now more convinced than ever that the conflict and suffering now threatening to engulf us are entirely unnecessary, and a tragic waste of our energy and resources. We can create an economic system that is not at war with human beings or nature, and we can get from here to there by democratic means."--from the new Preface by Charles A. Reich.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on March 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the kind of book that had I read it ten years ago, it would have changed my life. However, having a little education and some wisdom that comes with age, this book quickly reveals it's true colors. Charles Reich was (and may still be) a professor at Yale University. I originally got the idea to read this book when one of my history professors related a story about Reich gadding about campus in his bare feet during the early 1970's. My professor, with a wry grin, related how shocked he and some of his fellow students were that someone of Reich's stature would do such a crazy thing. After reading this book, this behavior fits right in with Reich's codification of what he calls a "new consciousness".
This new consciousness, which is essentially the hippie lifestyle, is a new extension of man that has grown from a technological and corporate society run amuck, and two prior forms of consciousness that failed to properly allow man to run a high-tech world. This first consciousness was what our founding fathers had: a sense of individuality and hard work. With the advent of industrialism, this consciousness gave way to the second form. This is the one most of us are familiar with today. It a way of strict conformity to hierarchy, a rigid adherence to rules and regulations, as well as heavily materialistic and goal-oriented. Reich argues that this way of being was too stilted and crushed individuality and free expression. The result was the third phase of consciousness: the hippie. Doing your own thing, freedom, and a desire to make technology work for humanity were the ultimate goals of this group. Reich examines their clothing (of which shoeless activity is perfectly acceptable for a college professor) and music.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
A brilliant and rare look at the Vietnam War era's culture at American colleges during the Sixties. It seems that all chronicles of the Sixties were written by authors that never really lived within the culture. With all these media cliches of that era, this story would never seem to surface ...and yet Reich captures this rare subculture as it REALLY existed. His analysis of previous American history is also ingenious and thought provoking. While his prediction for the future of this culture seem naive, his report still causes one to wonder: what are our full range of cultural choices?
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19 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Kristian Lasslett on May 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
This text is a comprehensive mapping of the mechanisms of the corporate state used to subdue citizens. Reich basically argues (quite convincingly) that modern capitalist society reduces people to functions, thus our whole life is measured by how well we can become a function for the system. He analyses key areas such as labor, education, law, philosophy etc.
In a sense I would say Reich is detailing the institutional control that Herbet Marcuse talks of in his book Eros and Civilisation.
As a second year arts/law student this book has given me a definite insight into the reality of the system which I am reluctantly partaking, an insight which makes it seem all the more repugnant.
One warning, Reich required the reader to use their own analytical skills to apply his discourse to society, so if you are a person who needs hundreds of examples for each notion raised as you can not visualise them yourself, don't buy this book. Otherwise, its a fine text.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Timothy Lukeman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Both time & official historical hindsight have been terribly cruel to this book, even moreso to its author. Just read some of the one-star reviews on this very page, for instance -- not only savagely mocking & dismissive, but often heaping personal derision on poor Charles Reich. Some 40+ years after its publication & the heyday of its brief moment, why does his book still evoke such a visceral response from so many? Because for a book & worldview supposedly long debunked & defunct, it still obviously strikes at some very sore & deep points.

I'll be the first to admit that the book is uneven & naive, almost heartbreakingly so at times. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially when viewed against the crass, cynical, materialistic wasteland of contemporary America ... the very thing that so many in the 1960s feared & fought. You can reasonably argue that Reich's vision for the future was impractical, perhaps even impossible to implement. But why does the prospect of a world moved more by peace & love & understanding, however unlikely to actually occur, fill its critics with such rancor & loathing? Is the current cultural model of obscene wealth at the expense of human decency actually preferable? Clearly, it is to some, i.e., those who've secured their well-funded niche & intend to hold onto it no matter what. Of course Reich's worldview looks like madness & anathema to them.

Which is why his book is still worth reading, flaws & all. For all its missteps & failures to follow through, the counterculture at least offered glimpses of other possibilities, of lives that might be devoted to more than rapacious greed, narcissism, and soul-numbing superficiality.
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