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The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind Hardcover – September 4, 2012


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The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind + Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate + Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Broadside Books; 1ST edition (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061807370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061807374
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Bawer scores lots of entertaining points against the insufferable posturing and unreadable prose that pervades identity studies….Bawer’s is a lively, cantankerous takedown of a juicy target.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Bawer is passionate in his criticism of the current state of academia and its effects on broader American culture.” (Booklist)

“The developments described by Mr. Bawer will not surprise readers familiar with the campus wars that broke out in the 1980s, when entire departments devoted to these fields began to be established. Where the author’s text shines is in explaining their root causes.” (Wall Street Journal)

“The book is terrific, exposing the academic criminality that those programs encourage — i.e., teaching naïve and impressionable students things that either are utterly false or are merely wild-eyed opinions as truth....I strongly recommend the book.” (National Review)

“This is a vital, sparkling, and truth-telling book.” (Jay Nordlinger, National Review)

“This book is an adventure in American religious thought, exciting and intelligent.” (Booklist)

From the Back Cover

An eye-opening critique of the identity-based revolution that has transformed American campuses and its effect on politics and society today.

The 1960s and ’70s were a time of dramatic upheaval in American universities as a new generation of scholar-activists rejected traditional humanism in favor of a radical ideology that denied esthetic merit and objective truth. In The Victims’ Revolution, critic and scholar Bruce Bawer provides the first true history of this radical movement and a sweeping assessment of its intellectual and cultural fruits.

Once, Bawer argues, the purpose of higher education had been to introduce students to the legacy of Western civilization—“the best that has been thought and said.” The new generation of radical educators sought instead to unmask the West as the perpetrator of global injustice. Age-old values of goodness, truth, and beauty were disparaged as mere weapons in an ongoing struggle of the powerful against the powerless. Shifting the focus of the humanities to the purported victims of Western colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism, the new politicized approach to the humanities gave rise to a series of identity-based programs, including Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Queer Studies, and Chicano Studies. As a result, the serious and objective study of human civilization and culture was replaced by “theoretical” approaches emphasizing group identity, victimhood, and lockstep “progressive” politics.

What have the advocates of this new anti-Western ideology accomplished?

Twenty-five years ago, Allan Bloom warned against the corruption of the humanities in The Closing of the American Mind. Bawer’s book presents compelling evidence that Bloom and other conservative critics were right to be alarmed. The Victims’ Revolution describes how the new identity-based disciplines came into being, examines their major proponents and texts, and trenchantly critiques their underlying premises. Bawer concludes that the influence of these programs has impoverished our thought, confused our politics, and filled the minds of their impressionable students with politically correct mush. Bawer’s book is must-reading for all those concerned not only about the declining quality of American higher education, but also about the fate of our society at large.


More About the Author

Bruce Bawer is a highly respected author, critic, essayist and translator. He is the author of several collections of literary and film criticism and a collection of poetry. His political journalism is widely published in print and online journals and he reviews books regularly for the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, and Wall Street Journal. Visit his website at www.brucebawer.com. He lives in Oslo with his partner.

Customer Reviews

This is an extremely thoughtful and very well written book.
Paul Tognetti
If you are unclear on why taxpayers and students have lost faith in higher education, especially the liberal arts and social sciences, this is that book.
David Clemens
The subject is really too enormous to really be covered all in one book.
Green Stone

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 82 people found the following review helpful By David Clemens on September 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Every once in a while a book comes along that nicely wraps up a complicated situation and puts a bow on it. If you are unclear on why taxpayers and students have lost faith in higher education, especially the liberal arts and social sciences, this is that book. Confused about why college profs rant about something they call "hegemony?" Bawer explains. Wonder why so-called liberating education is so autocratic and intolerant? Bawer knows and tells. The extent to which left-wing dogma permeates all levels of education is well-documented but hard to fathom. Bawer traces the roots and the current fashion for identity politics masquerading as curriculum. Some students fall for it but many are sick and tired of being proselytized. Some will say that it's not that bad anymore but don't believe them. In the past couple of years, Bawer attended conferences on Women's Studies, Black Studies, Chicano Studies, and Queer Studies to get the lay of the land. The hectoring and postmodern mumbo-jumbo is thicker than ever. One college guy I know just got his first English essay assignment. He can write about Malcolm X, radical feminism, or lesbianism. His choice! The number of conservatives in America's English departments can be counted on one hand with a couple of digits left over. Bawer offers hope at the end but it takes a battle and the ideologues still hold the high ground.
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Format: Hardcover
Recently I was discussing with friends an issue that has perplexed me for years. I have always wondered what developments caused much of Black America to turn its back on the integrationist goals of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. As I recall the about-face took place in the early 1970's but no one has ever been able to fully explain it to me. All of a sudden angry African-American college students were demanding separate housing on campus and petitioning administrations for Black Studies programs and departments. Indeed, it was a very unsettling time and most white Americans were thoroughly confused. MLK would have been appalled. A few days ago I came across an intriguing new book that I felt would finally give me the answers I have been looking for. As it turns out what author Bruce Bawer had to offer in "The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind" not only answered my initial question but went on to explain what has gone so terribly wrong with higher education in America over these past 40 years. Suffice to say this book is a real eye-opener!

The way Bruce Bawer sees it the most disastrous by-product of the civil rights movement was multiculturalism. He quotes the noted liberal historian and social critic Arthur Schlesinger Jr. who believed that multiculturalism was "a philosophy that teaches that America is not a nation of individuals at all but a nation of groups." Thus, it was the rise of multiculturalism that would give birth not only to Black Studies but also to a number of other identity studies programs such as Women's Studies, Queer Studies, Chicano Studies and Cultural Studies.
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Native Daughter on October 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a humanities major in the early 80s (thankfully BEFORE all that Bawer describes in this book infected the academy) I can only say THANK YOU MR. BAWER for helping me understand what I faced when I went back to graduate school in 2010. I was shocked to find out that I was now identified as an "oppressor" (because I'm a straight Caucasian female - worse if had I been a straight white male!) and that America is the biggest evil oppressor the world has ever known, etc. This meme is repeated again and again in so many ways in textbooks that it is STUNNING. And since I'd studied humanities prior to this "infection" I was doubly stunned. Students (and their parents) - shelling out big bucks for "higher education" should read this cautionary tome. Know what you are paying for before you patronize "higher education." Kudos to Mr. Bawer, a member of a so-called victim group (by dint of being gay) for having the intellectual honesty and courage to write this book! I'm posting and sharing with everyone.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Chapin on October 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't really know too much about Bruce Bawer. I know he's a conservative and he's a Facebook friend of mine, but I really hadn't read his work previously. The Victims' Revolution came up on my Amazon recommendations list and I bought it right away. I wasn't sure what to expect but I revile the fashion by which political correctness has corrupted our universities along with the greater culture. The book came in the mail, I quickly opened it, and only discovered that I was reading about 30 pages later. The pages just flashed by and I loved it. This text will prove entertaining and therapeutic for anyone who is horrified by the left's replacement of education with dedicated indoctrination in our colleges. The left has also done the same thing to the field of journalism over the last 50 years. Luckily, and despite its depressing subject matter, Bawer's narrative is wonderful. It reminded me very much of Roger Kimball's Tenured Radicals as it is a tour through the absolutely insane sub-schools and sub-studies of the contemporary university. The body of the book is four chapters that deal with Women's Studies, Black Studies, Queer Studies, and Chicano Studies. All of them are very entertaining, but "Gilligan's Island: Women's Studies" was the strongest, and I made many of its paragraphs into 4 videos that I posted to my channel. In reality though, the entire work is sterling and I highly recommend it. No doubt, in a year's time, I'll be reading it again.
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