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The Last Myth: What the Rise of Apocalyptic Thinking Tells Us About America Paperback – March 6, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
In the end, The Last Myth may change the way you think about your place in the grand scheme of things. But perhaps more importantly, it will steel you for the times to come, and equip you for the times you are living in right now. Supervolcanoes, asteroids and pandemics are the laughably improbable bogeymen for a decline that's already taking place. Peak oil, economic collapse, global warming and income inequality factor high on the authors' TEOTWAWKI list for good reason. Unlike far-flung extinction level events that we can do very little about except grin and bear, the scientific community is lined up to support the authors' assertions. American collapse is simply the other side of the hard-fought bell curve that the baby boomers giddily bounced on top of when they got back from the war. Now far beyond driven into the red, the authors point to chunks of the American Dream as they crumble off, and warn us of the next pieces to fracture, only this time perhaps more violently.Read more ›
It might sound like a dense academic treatise but Gross and Gilles are not wonks but actual writers, and the prose is vivid, swift, and conversational. I read it in two long sittings. The books it reminded me of are Ecology of Fear by Mike Davis and What's the Matter with Kansas by Tom Frank, books that massage with wit while clobbering with information, giving that rare and delicious sensation of having your mind pried open and filled with new ideas.
This book will challenge/trigger/ignite people regardless of their current or past belief systems.
From ancient Jewish apocalypticism to modern apocalyptic thought(s) the book delves into the religious and political beliefs as well as the secular ideas that shape so much of our daily lives.
Thankfully the two were able to lighten up the well researched, informative, doomy subject matter (religion & politics) with their wit and humor as they gently reminded us to be ever present with the current issue at hand and to avoid using delusions as scapegoats.
For example, there have been a number of points where people (granted, slowly) made a 180-degree change in how they think about time. In its earliest days, humanity interpreted life events as the forces of destruction seeking balance with the forces of creation. That changed into a concept of good continually battling evil. There was another period when people thought that every action was a repetition of what ancestors had done before them; there was nothing new under the sun. Over time, that opinion shifted to thinking each event is unprecedented and so history is leading us to some specific point, often utopian or dystopian in nature.
The authors wrap up their work by highlighting two alarming trends. The first is that apocalyptic thinking has hit levels in the past decade in America that haven't been seen worldwide in a thousand years. And second, the desire to view global events through an apocalyptical lens is clouding the ability to tackle real problems.
Suffice it to say, "The Last Myth" will be found educational and enjoyable by historians, futurists, and anyone who wants a fresh take on the concept of time itself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wish I could give a book on this topic more than three stars, but this one is, in my opinion, poorly written. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Melanie D. Typaldos
Well written and presented with how we see the world.
The subject matter gave me a lot to think about.
I have had similar thoughts on our American fascination with cataclysmic thinking, akin to writer's block. Read morePublished on October 11, 2013 by Deborah L Hughes
Few books have made me think more deeply about the current direction of the world and our collective perceptions of it. On this note, this book succeeds. Read morePublished on September 27, 2013 by dominored
I'm grateful to the authors for putting apocalyptic thinking into historical perspective along with a great way to understand where we are now. Read morePublished on July 15, 2013 by Steven A. Smith
If you are a prepper or worry about the end of the world, then hop on and take a ride to the past and see where all this end of the world or America thinking comes from. Read morePublished on March 24, 2013 by rocco mastrangioli
I got this book after hearing one of the authors interviewed on a podcast called Skepticality. He was well-spoken and made a lot of good points so I wanted to get a chance to see... Read morePublished on November 17, 2012 by Bio Prof
This book's main points are:
1. There is no God so don't worry about a God-related apocalypse.
2. Cheap oil has made Western man wildly prosperous. Read more