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Dark Age Ahead Paperback – May 17, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Top Customer Reviews
In that connection the book identifies five factors that jeopardize pillars of the culture of the West, where West = North America + Western Europe. The five factors are: (a) the destruction of the traditional family and community; (b) the replacement of education by credentialization; (c) the dominance of technology over science; (d) the overpowering government and its opaque taxation system; and (e) the loss of self-policing attributes of culture. These factors constitute "The Hazard" society is currently facing, and are the subjects of the chapters of the book.
The superimposition of the household (economic family unit) over the nuclear family (biological family unit) has condemned many a family to failure. So "while politicians, clergy, creators of advertisement, and other worthies assert stoutly that the family is the foundation of society, the nuclear family, as an institution is currently in grave trouble" (p. 29). By blurring the difference between the nuclear family and other household units the automobile industry has done more harm to the family institution than illegal drugs.Read more ›
This book now focuses on the five crucial weak spots in the foundation of contemporary life in the West: taxes; community & family; higher education; science and technology; and the lack of self-policing by learned professions. She then argues that these problems lie behind more conventional trouble spots: the environment, crime, and the discrepancy between rich and poor.
My only problem with this book is that she's rather brusque in regards to shoring up her arguments with examples. The book does offer some nice insights for one to ponder on but as far as looking for examples, try turning to your own life experience.
She isn't a historian nor is this book intended to be a historical review of what one may assume as the Dark Ages of the past.
If you're concerned with America's changing culture and changing climate and can keep an open mind, this book could serve as a stepping stone.
In this short volume, Jane Jacobs articulates her fears of a coming Dark Age, choosing to focus on a few specific indicators. So this isn't an all-encompassing look at what's happening right now, buttressed with copious references & facts. It's more of a personal cri de coeur -- certainly drawing on a lifetime of study & knowledge, but ultimately speaking very much from the heart of old age, watching as the world eagerly marches closer to the edge of a cliff.
What particularly struck me was the emphasis on how easily so much can be forgotten, how a culture can wither on the vine without anyone really noticing until it's too late. As Jacobs points out, there are places in America that already live a Dark Ages existence -- there always have been -- but the number of such places is growing. People who once thought themselves secure are now sliding into the dark.
But how can so much be forgotten in the digital age? As Jacobs also points out, the digital library is an especially fragile thing, one that will deteriorate far more swiftly than an old-fashioned printed book. More than that, though, memory has begun to deteriorate at a frightening pace; supposedly educated people are ignorant of knowledge that a typical grade-schooler once knew.
In addition, the changes in society, the glorification of profit & power above all, the disregard for what we now call the 99% by the 1%, are all having a nagative effect on the fabric of life. Basic survival is becoming precarious, even as the arts & wisdom that sustain a culture are ignored & discarded. No wonder Jacobs was so concerned as she approached the end of her own life!
Again, a smaller book, but well worth reading -- recommended!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book had some interesting ideas about the challenges facing our society in the early 21st century. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rob From Raleigh
I read this as research for a science fiction novel I'm writing. She comes within a hair's breadth of predicting the housing bubble collapse from 2003. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Darin L Ramsey
A return of racism? Come on, its the 21st century. Exploding inequality? This is America, there's enough of the good stuff to go around. Read morePublished 3 months ago by John Stalvern
We may be going into a cycle of 'intellectual recession' , hastened by lack of integrity in both political and social leaders. Read morePublished 11 months ago by tspia
Jane Jacobs always earns five stars. Interesting subject she picked for this book.Published 14 months ago by Henry Pfeifer
Not her best book by far, but still it contains a few nuggets that made it worth the read.Published 15 months ago by Fr. Tim Moyle
this is a very well written and researched book. i believe ms jacobs would be horrified at todays conditions in which one man one vote and where of the people, by the people etc... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer