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The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America Paperback – September 1, 1992
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Praise for Daniel J. Boorstin's The Image
“A very informative and entertaining and chastising book.”
“A book that everyone in America should read every few years. Stunning in its prescience, it explains virtually every aspect of our mass media's evolution and seductiveness.”
—Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize winning author of A Visit From the Goon Squad
“An engrossing book—sensitive, thoughtful, damning, dead on target and in most respects unanswerable.”
“Excellent. . . It is the book to end all books about ‘The American Image’—what it is, who projects it, what effect it has at home or abroad.”
“A brilliant and original essay about the black arts and corrupting influences of advertising and public relations.”
“Boorstin’s book tells us how to see and listen, and how to think about what we see and hear.”
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Top Customer Reviews
His main thematic device is to dichotomize pre-modern and modern/postmodern categories. For instance, in discussing celebrity he notes that the precursor of the celebrity was the hero. He explains the difference by saying that the hero was "folk" based, while the celebrity is "mass" based. George Washington was raised to the level of hero by the people for his deeds, his fame embroidered by them, cherry trees invented for him to chop down. On the other hand, celebrities -- the Gabor sisters to use one of his examples -- were celebrities before they even starred in movies. They were created by astute publicists and through their own knack of getting into the paper.
He actually starts his discussion about how the image has come to be substituted for ideals in his first chapter on the gathering and dissemination of the news. He notes the rise of the pseudo-event, e.g.Read more ›
this book isn't a complete tome on the subject, nor does it pretend to be. one of the great strengths of boorstin is that he doesn't attempt to be complete. instead he proposes a thesis or a thread of ideas and develops that. he's skilled at this task and remarkably clear. in a nutshell, don't treat this book as the sum and substance of the topic, it's just a great essay on the topic.
nor is this a book describing the ills of the world. it's an essay describing the changing nature of the world in which we live. if we are to be active participants on this world, we should be informed and study how it changes. technology's effects are not demonized, their impact is just described.
the age of the book, some 40 years or so, makes some of the events under discussion seem quaint or outmoded, but frankly they're just a foundation of today's media.
Even more unforgivable, Boorstin, a Professor of History, penned a major work of social theory and social criticism in the 1960s (when radical students would not allow him to speak in his own classroom)But then, many historians still insist world recognized sociologist-historian Charles Tilly is not a (tell your history teacher the proper article is 'a', not 'an') historian and many sociologists claim he is not a sociologist. No matter. Tilly's work stands long after his critics are forgotten. Likewise, Boorstin's work has outlived that of most of his critics.
"The Image" presents Boorstin's acute observation that in Modern American public life image matters more than substance, especially in the market place and also in the corporate work place. A criticsm I have of "Image" is that Boorstin did not examine the decline of character(substance) and the rise of personality(social lubricant). It seems to me that the cult of "personality" (Outpatient therapists mostly "treat" personality problems, not mental illness) goes hand in hand with the "image" and "pseudo-event" phenomenon he labels and discusses.Read more ›
Thank you Daniel J Boorstin...for telling the truth.
Miss Courtney Payne
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was probably groundbreaking when it was written, in its observation of how many events in American life are things that are consciously created for effect rather than things... Read morePublished 15 days ago by William Whyte
Avery cheaply printed on low quality paper and in small, difficult to read type. Content is excellent--just as it was 40+ years ago. Read morePublished 2 months ago by DS
This book explains why how the political candidates are packaged may be more important than what they say. Read morePublished 3 months ago by ckusa2000
The only other book in its class is "Amusing Ourselves To Death" by Neil Postman.Published 4 months ago by Carl King
“Not long ago I approached one of the best publishers in the country with a proposal for a book. The book I outlined, it seemed to me, was much needed. Read morePublished 6 months ago by komyathy
The first section is brilliant and has resonance fifty years later. Boorstin did indeed see where we were headed. Read morePublished 8 months ago by mdd100
A brilliant, stunningly prescient analysis of culture. It's thoroughly researched, comprehensively argued, and densely packed with proof of the bold notion that America is becoming... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Abner Rosenweig
The kind of book that makes you think, "Wow, maybe ignorance is bliss." It's main focus is on psuedo-events, things that didn't actually spontaneously happen but are made... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Nathan Vos