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Grasping for the Wind Hardcover – May 1, 2001
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From Library Journal
How did our society get to where it is, and where is it heading? These are the questions investigated in this excellent book. Whitehead is a civil liberties attorney, founder and editor of the magazine Gadfly and producer of the award-winning video series with the same title as this book. His near-encyclopedic knowledge of history, literature, art, and science allows him to explore the significance of almost every major person and movement from the 1700s until today, from Voltaire, Hobbes, and Rousseau to MTV, Generation X, and Forrest Gump. Our society has arrived at the point where-technology and science, from computers to cloning, raise many questions about what it means to be human. Whitehead is not in the business of answering these questions although he does point the way but of making sure that we understand the issues. He achieves his goal superbly. Highly recommended. John Moryl, Yeshiva Univ. Lib., New York
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Back Cover
): Grasping for the Wind is like a How Should We Then Live (Frances Schaeffer) for the 21st Century. It is an overview of 20th Century culture, clearly showing how the artists and culture-makers (from Einstein to the Beatles, from Van Gogh to Andy Warhol) have influenced the philosophical and moral climate of the world we live in todayfor better or worse. Never has there been a first-rate Christian thinker who synthesized the major philosophical movements of the century in such an intelligent and intriguing way, always being objective, but always keeping on eye on the high standard of truth that we believe in as Christians.
The comparison to Frances Schaeffers How Should We Then Live is intentional. The author, who considers himself a disciple of Schaeffers, wanted to explore the same territory that his mentor explored, except he also wanted to make it relevant to a post-modern age. This book, with its highly graphic presentation and freewheeling style, is geared for the general reader and the post-modern alike. More than any book currently on our list, it answers the question: how did the western world get into the sad cultural and moral shape its in? The discussion is broad-ranging, profound, and fascinating.
One advantage of this book is that he puts all our cultural heroes (whether its James Joyce and T. S. Eliot or Marilyn Monroe or Steven Spielberg) into a larger context in which we can see the extent that they moved us either away from Gods Truth or toward it.
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I give it two stars instead of one because the author does make a few interesting connections along the way and does not bore the reader too much. The snarky asides though make you think of a priveleged white guy, with a slightly better than average education, giving a powerpoint at the country club about how the world has gone down hill since the Middle Ages and blames the Holocaust on Darwin and Modern Art. Oh yeah, btw Jazz is amoral, Rock is narcissistic, modern architecture has no soul, blah, blah, blah.