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The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America Hardcover – October 2, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Now, to the content of the book. Faludi submits a premise which she characterizes by a concept we learn in basic biology-- "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny." And in her book, she calls the beginning narrative of the book Phylogeny.
The German zoologist, Ernst Haeckel, suggested, in this theory, the idea that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny means that as over the short time span of nine months, a fetus, in the womb, goes through ontogenetic phases of development, it recapitulates the stages of development we see as we go up the evolutional scale-- phylogenetically, that took billions of years to develop.
So we start, in biology, with single celled, then microscopic organisms, then fish, amphibia, with tails, mammals with tails, until we reach the anthropoid stage.
Faludi suggests that as a nation, we are now recapitulating our early evolutionary stages.
She says, "Haeckel's hypothesis retains a metaphorical power in the realm of cultural history. The ways that we act, say, in response to a crisis can recapitulate in quick time the centuries-long evolution of our character as a society and of the mythologies we live by. September 11 presented just such a crisis..."
In her beginning section, called ONTOGENY, She does a superb job documenting how, after the 9/11 terrorist attack, there were no obvious heroes. No brave surviving rescuers, no brave fighters, no people who bravely dug through the rubble to discover survivors.Read more ›
Second, a previous reviewer has dismissed the argument of this book that it's just human nature the way people respond to such crises. Faludi goes to show us the opposite: human nature includes a survival instinct within us all, male or female but too often, other forces and the need to create heroes brings up a divide between men and women, casting the former as heroes and the latter as the victimized in need of saving. Perhaps this isn't a new argument, but Faludi brings it new life by comparing the post-9/11 climate to earlier periods in the history of the United States. I had heard of many of the male archetypes referred to here, the Daniel Boones, the Natty Bumppos but I have never read many captivity narratives and to me, this was new ground.
I could have used a bit more in the beginning when Faludi discusses Susan Sontag and Barbara Kingsolver. What those writers said after 9/11 is never quoted in full; I admit feeling a little angry at their comments in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, not because I was bloodthirsty but because they seemed the words of apologists and ill-timed. Then again, that was my emotional response to a day that still haunts me and I'll never be able to think rationally about it, but it would also cause me to miss Faludi's point: it's not so much what they said as the reaction to the women who spoke out as opposed to male commentators who said similar things yet were ignored by the press.
I recommend this book, whether you agree with it or not.Read more ›
Let me start with her ending:
"When an attack on home soil causes cultural paroxysms that have nothing to do with the attack, when we respond to real threats to our nation by distrusting ourselves with imagined threats to femininity and family life, when we invest our leaders with a cartoon masculinity and require of them bluster in lieu of a capacity for rational calculation, and when we blame our frailty in 'fifth column' feminists - in short, when we base our security on a mythical male strength that can only increase itself against a mythical female weakness - we should know that we are exhibiting the symptoms of a lethal, albeit curable, cultural affliction" (p. 295).
What? And Susan Faludi can make a case for this? As it turns out, however complex this is, Faludi makes a very strong case. There is a smell somewhere in the house, and Faludi attempts to track it down.
Here is the book, in outline form.
1. There was an event we call 9/11.
2. Society at all levels responded to this event.
3. In an extraordinary reversal of the "Rosie the Riveter" phenomenon that redefined the potential for women to hold up this nation, at all levels of society and in all quarters, the post 9/11 phenomena of "manly men" and "perfect virgins" is being forced upon us in entertainment, politics, media coverage, the blogiverse, and unfortunately, journalism.
4. This will have further impacts on society.
Faludi, with the writing and analysis skills I appreciated in her book, Backlash, tackles this topic head-on. My first reaction? Guilt. I was oblivious to the broader issues here.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Susan Faludi again demonstrates why she ought to be a household name. This book is a great explanation for why America did what it did after 9/11. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jane Mayhew
The book is about how the media used an overwhelming amount of propaganda to boost the need in our society for manly men and manliness to step up to the plate so we could justify... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Matthew D King
The view this book offers makes eminent sense. We need to look more often at the root cause of things and stop trying to treat symptoms, alone. Read morePublished on December 18, 2012 by T. K. Scott
I'm sorry, perhaps it is just my thought process, however, this book is boring beyond words. The first lengthly chapter could have been written in two pages. Read morePublished on April 10, 2011 by VPN
For all the examination of America after 9-11, most have dealt with the change in laws, politics and foreign policy. Read morePublished on August 11, 2010 by Newton Ooi
It's great to read books where the author expresses everything you believe. Pierce's Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free was such a book for me. Read morePublished on July 5, 2010 by Clarissa's Blog
I recently read "Terror Dream" by Susan Faludi. She's an American journalist and author of the well-known books "Backlash" , and "Stiffed". Read morePublished on June 21, 2010 by David M. Nataf
I held off on this book for more than a year after buying it because I just wasn't in the mood for anything else about 9/11. Read morePublished on January 30, 2010 by Mark