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Where the Wasteland Ends Paperback – November 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 540 pages
  • Publisher: Celestial Arts (November 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0890875618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0890875612
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,112,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Theodore Roszak (1933-2011) was the author of fifteen books, including the 1969 classic "The Making of a Counter Culture." He was professor emeritus of history at California State University, and lived in Berkeley, California.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By William Timothy Lukeman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's been over 35 years since this rich, insightful book was first published, and its detailed critique of our technocratic, spiritually empty society has only become more devastatingly accurate. Let's disregard certain specific, dated references, as any work written in & of its time will contain those -- what matters here is the overall substance, which remains terribly relevant.

Contrary to the negative review below, Roszak is far from despising science. What he's critiquing is "scientism," the idolatry of science & the rationalist worldview -- for that matter, he's just as far from despising reason, as well. Drawing upon William Blake in particular, his argument is that reason & science are PART of a living worldview, but do not constitute a viable worldview on their own. In short, he's critiquing the reductionist worldview that claims everything can be reduced to "nothing but."

Are human beings complex biological, or chemical, mechanisms? That argument can be made ... but are we "nothing but" biological or chemical mechanisms? If so, what does such an outlook mean for human beings & their culture? After all, machines can be replaced, rebuilt, bought & sold -- individual machines have no intrinsic worth, only utility -- mercy, pity, compassion, empathy have no bearing on the bottom line -- such are the moral & spiritual dilemmas Roszak poses for all of us.

Nobody can deny that we live in a world of astonishing technical breakthroughs & wonders. We can communicate with anyone around the world, we have access to vast libraries of information at the click of a mouse, we can download music & film & art from every culture & era in an instant, we can perform medical miracles ... but is that enough to make a better, more humane world?
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
Roszak analyzes the single vision philosophy of the Judeo-Christian tradition and its descendant, science. These two seemingly opposing philosophies are seen as the foundation of the creation of the dominant technocracy which is poisoning the planet and alienating manking. His analyses of Blake, Wordsworth, and Goethe are also interesting and erudite. The amazing feat of this book is that he broadens his analysis of the Counter Culture to the foundational roots of the problem. An amazing, life-changing book, which will make you re-evaluate "progress" and the alienating powers of our technocratic age. It should be required reading for all philosophy and science classes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Debra Mervant on October 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
I stumbled upon this book in the midst of what Mr Roszak indeed helped me to understand was a SPIRITUAL crisis, and not, God forbid, some watered down form of ego psychology jargon : depression.
This book took my breath away.
Although I have many individual criticisms, (and indeed additional comments) to make to Mr Roszak on some points of his analysis of what is so desperately ailing western culture (no longer civilization, my friends...) I have no qualms whatsoever with the broad lines of his diagnosis :
Our culture has done its best to evacuate the overwhelming spiritual needs of human beings, reducing them to pablum, and ultimately channeling them into Saturday afternoon buying sprees at the local shopping mall, or Saturday afternoon buying sprees at the local pharmacy, to try to take care of our physical ills.
Well, putting a dollar sign on anything that lives, breathes, moves, ensures that we are going down the tube, faster and faster these days it seems, if anyone has noticed, and our modern day Tower of Babel -cum stock market is not about to prove me wrong.
On trial : the "scientific" ESTABLISHMENT, and certain promoters of a secular humanism that does its best to turn us all into reasonable, realistic automatons. (But don't take my word for it, see how Roszak ties all this together ; it's fascinating).
Written over 30 years go, Roszak's first chapters about the risks facing our society, have a prophetic ring that is almost frightening in its accuracy.
And the fundamentalist backlash against Enlightenment reductionist thought finds its own justification when subjected to the analysis that this book provides.
This book is number one on my list of must reads for anyone trying to understand what is going on in Western culture these days.
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