Customer Review

47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars His own favorite person, December 4, 2003
This review is from: The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don't Think for Themselves (Hardcover)
It's hard to dislike a book that skewers John Seabrook, not to mention Bloom, D'Sousa, and English Department faculty who think they are political scientists . . . but this is a difficult book to warm up to.
The problem is, I think, that it's poorly written. White bounces between little jokes, truncated academic arguments, and insightful observations about American society while the reader just holds on to his racing prose. It's more a rant than an argument. If I had been his editor, I would have said, "This is great, Curtis. It's good that you got this out of your system. NOW you can write an actual book about this subject."
I think I agree with his basic views, but his arguments wander off into fogs of compacted references and then are abruptly announced as completed: "Now, having finished with the left, I'll critique the right." Finished? Had you STARTED?
I think my biggest disappointment with the book is that very little of it is actually about the "middle mind" (after reading the book, try to sit down and write a one page essay distinguishing the middle from the lower and upper mind)and virtually none of it is about "why Americans don't think for themselves" (which is the book's subtitle).
I've been trying to think of people I could recommend this to (people who don't share the exact same educational background as White), and I can't think of anyone. I really don't know who the audience is for this . . . perhaps graduate students. I am going to use it in my class because I agree with his positions, but think analyzing his statements would be a great exercise in critical thinking.
I think the point of a book like this is that it could persuade people who don't already agree with his basic stance. And, in this, I think the book fails.
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3.1 out of 5 stars (53 customer reviews)
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