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The Terror Dream: What 9/11 Revealed About America Paperback – Import, January 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; First Thus edition (2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843547791
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843547792
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,818,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Neither claim stands up to much scrutiny.
Speaker To Animals
This is an incredibly well-written and -researched book of cultural and historical criticism, written in an accessible style.
Alfred J. Neuman
I cannot wait for this book to come out in paperback so that I can put this as required reading on my college syllabus.
J. Gravener

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Robert Kall VINE VOICE on November 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
First, let's talk about the writing. Faludi is a brilliant writer. She could write about grass growing and make it a great read. There were times, reading her book, where I just had to stop and digest how well she puts things. A number of times, thoughts that she wrote with the beauty of Rumi came to mind.

Now, to the content of the book. Faludi submits a premise which she characterizes by a concept we learn in basic biology-- "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny." And in her book, she calls the beginning narrative of the book Phylogeny.

The German zoologist, Ernst Haeckel, suggested, in this theory, the idea that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny means that as over the short time span of nine months, a fetus, in the womb, goes through ontogenetic phases of development, it recapitulates the stages of development we see as we go up the evolutional scale-- phylogenetically, that took billions of years to develop.

So we start, in biology, with single celled, then microscopic organisms, then fish, amphibia, with tails, mammals with tails, until we reach the anthropoid stage.

Faludi suggests that as a nation, we are now recapitulating our early evolutionary stages.

She says, "Haeckel's hypothesis retains a metaphorical power in the realm of cultural history. The ways that we act, say, in response to a crisis can recapitulate in quick time the centuries-long evolution of our character as a society and of the mythologies we live by. September 11 presented just such a crisis..."

In her beginning section, called ONTOGENY, She does a superb job documenting how, after the 9/11 terrorist attack, there were no obvious heroes. No brave surviving rescuers, no brave fighters, no people who bravely dug through the rubble to discover survivors.
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69 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Edward Aycock on October 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
First things first, I commend Faludi, as always, for her writing style. Faludi's journalism background has made her books very readable and her latest is no exception. Those who fear a long-winded book full of academic jargon need not be afraid. This is vintage Faludi.

Second, a previous reviewer has dismissed the argument of this book that it's just human nature the way people respond to such crises. Faludi goes to show us the opposite: human nature includes a survival instinct within us all, male or female but too often, other forces and the need to create heroes brings up a divide between men and women, casting the former as heroes and the latter as the victimized in need of saving. Perhaps this isn't a new argument, but Faludi brings it new life by comparing the post-9/11 climate to earlier periods in the history of the United States. I had heard of many of the male archetypes referred to here, the Daniel Boones, the Natty Bumppos but I have never read many captivity narratives and to me, this was new ground.

I could have used a bit more in the beginning when Faludi discusses Susan Sontag and Barbara Kingsolver. What those writers said after 9/11 is never quoted in full; I admit feeling a little angry at their comments in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, not because I was bloodthirsty but because they seemed the words of apologists and ill-timed. Then again, that was my emotional response to a day that still haunts me and I'll never be able to think rationally about it, but it would also cause me to miss Faludi's point: it's not so much what they said as the reaction to the women who spoke out as opposed to male commentators who said similar things yet were ignored by the press.

I recommend this book, whether you agree with it or not.
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58 of 69 people found the following review helpful By R S Cobblestone VINE VOICE on October 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America, by Susan Faludi, is unsettling.

Let me start with her ending:

"When an attack on home soil causes cultural paroxysms that have nothing to do with the attack, when we respond to real threats to our nation by distrusting ourselves with imagined threats to femininity and family life, when we invest our leaders with a cartoon masculinity and require of them bluster in lieu of a capacity for rational calculation, and when we blame our frailty in 'fifth column' feminists - in short, when we base our security on a mythical male strength that can only increase itself against a mythical female weakness - we should know that we are exhibiting the symptoms of a lethal, albeit curable, cultural affliction" (p. 295).

What? And Susan Faludi can make a case for this? As it turns out, however complex this is, Faludi makes a very strong case. There is a smell somewhere in the house, and Faludi attempts to track it down.

Here is the book, in outline form.

1. There was an event we call 9/11.

2. Society at all levels responded to this event.

3. In an extraordinary reversal of the "Rosie the Riveter" phenomenon that redefined the potential for women to hold up this nation, at all levels of society and in all quarters, the post 9/11 phenomena of "manly men" and "perfect virgins" is being forced upon us in entertainment, politics, media coverage, the blogiverse, and unfortunately, journalism.

4. This will have further impacts on society.

Faludi, with the writing and analysis skills I appreciated in her book, Backlash, tackles this topic head-on. My first reaction? Guilt. I was oblivious to the broader issues here.
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