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The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America's Politics and Culture Paperback – Bargain Price, July 22, 2008
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In the book's subtitles, Lindsey promises to answer two questions: How prosperity transformed America's politics and culture? Why the culture wars made us more libertarian? He fulfills his obligations with compelling data, anecdotes, pop culture allusions, and sundry vignettes from each of the post-WWII decades.
The driving theme of the book is that, in the aftermath of 15 years of economic depression followed by world war, America, with its accumulated wealth and pent up demand was on the verge of a socio-economic big bang. With human sustenance all but assured for most Americans, the realm of material necessity (where all of life's energies were devoted to fulfilling life's basic requirements), which had defined the human condition for millennia, was relegated to history. The possibilities for human enterprise, association, expression, and actualization were about to change.
Providing the locomotion for the vast and rapid social change and its echoes was the dawn of the Age of Aquarius (the countercultural emergence) and the subsequent Evangelical Revival in response. One of Brink's gifts is his capacity for succinct interpretation. Thus, the essence of the culture wars boils down to this: "one side attacked capitalism while rejoicing in its fruits [the Aquarians, broadly defined]; the other side celebrated capitalism while denouncing its fruits as poisonous[...].Read more ›
But Age of Abundance is less an argument and more a story. This is a historically rich book, bulging with fascinating historical detail that explains how we got from there to here more plausibly than any book in recent memory.Read more ›
According to Lindsey, the mass affluence that ushered in after World War II lifted us out of "the realm of necessity" and into "the realm of freedom." For the first time in human history the vast majority no longer struggled to obtain the basic necessities of life. Many would debate this point, but statistically one could prove that even the poor were better off than in previous time or place.
Leaving the age of scarcity and entering the age of abundance, Americans were suddenly faced proliferation of choices, arguably turning them into a different kind of people. Not only did this unleash a quest for material wealth, but also a desire for political and cultural change. The age of abundance produced two antithetical social movements that upended the peaceful harmony of the 1950s. For the left of the 1960s and 70s, mass affluence created new possibilities for personal growth and greater tolerance and opportunity for women and minorities. The left, however, was dismissive of business culture and traditional family values, and failed to see how they were in fact responsible for the prosperity that they were enjoying. On the other side was the evangelical Christian right who was more protective of capitalism and tradition, but who were very intolerant of the newfound freedoms and lifestyles that were being explored.
During the 1980s and 90s, the cultural wars between these two camps raged, especially on election years.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was for a class. It was dry, dull, boring and I hated every time I had to read something from it.Published on July 4, 2013 by L. Smith
Mr. Lindsey has a nice way with words and as a libertarian isn't angry or divisive. His premise is that after WWII, America entered a new type of society, a society freed for the... Read morePublished on August 12, 2010 by Amazon Customer
In some respects I consider myself a libertarian, but the main problem I have with the party and the movement is that it seems like a cult religion in some ways. Read morePublished on June 1, 2010 by S. Riley
For someone who closely follows news and politics, reading this book was a refreshing experience. Its central premise is a truly unique idea, in a field filled with redundant... Read morePublished on January 16, 2008 by J. Harris
A friend recommended this book to me when he heard some of the other material I was reading, he thought it would be good to see the opposing viewpoint. Read morePublished on October 8, 2007 by Narz
Brink Lindsey seems like a really average American guy, which is surprising not because of his unusual name but because he's the Vice President for Research at the libertarian Cato... Read morePublished on September 29, 2007 by Amazon Customer
Provided an excellent explanation of our country's current social and political situation by chronicling how the nation's political center re-balances extremes on the left and... Read morePublished on August 9, 2007 by S. Cavote
Allows one to step back and see and understand some of the social and political events of his lifetime. Read morePublished on May 31, 2007 by J. Principato
This is the best modern American history that I have seen. The author presents an intriguing theme and makes his points via an eminently readable tour of our cultural, political... Read morePublished on May 24, 2007 by Peter Gordon