No Future For You: Salvos from The Baffler

Edited by John Summers, Chris Lehmann, and Thomas Frank. MIT, $27.95 (392p) ISBN 978-0-262-02833-2
More a discharge of artillery fire than of cheers or salutes, these self-described "salvos" from The Baffler's last five years, contributed by such writers as Thomas Frank, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Evgeny Morozov, gleefully target modern America's "reigning dogma of the consensus." The smart and sobering essays collected here identify a few common culprits for our "unmitigated national crisis": "the circular preachments of the positive-thinking industry," the glorification of free-market capitalism, an "innovation economy" stifled by bureaucratic government, and political interests "in the business of producing childlike minds." With surgical precision, the writers puncture the propaganda surrounding presidential campaigns, government reform, city planning, and economic revivals. They also take on institutions like Harvard, the Washington Post, and The Atlantic, as well as cultural fads. A.S. Hamrah and Heather Havrilesky, for instance, respectively tackle Thomas Kinkade paintings and 50 Shades of Grey. Whether Rick Perlstein is comparing Mitt Romney to a snake-oil salesman or Susan Faludi is exposing the "hijacking" of contemporary feminism by corporate interests, these authors dare to ask the troubling questions. Eye-opening and irascible, hopeful but not optimistic, this collection offers a clear-eyed perspective on post-recession America and pays readers the ultimate compliment of being able to think for themselves. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/08/2014
Release date: 08/01/2014
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