cover image The Truth about the Truth

The Truth about the Truth

Walter Truett Anderson, Author Jeremy P. Tarcher $16.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-87477-801-4

There is no longer one ``truth about the truth,'' observes freelance journalist Anderson (Reality Isn't What It Used to Be), who has compiled 33 previously published short pieces by postmodern pundits grappling with problems of belief, identity and society. In an engagingly skeptical, aphoristic voice (``look at the post modern world as a kind of jailbreak from the Grand Hotel''), Anderson provides continuity between sections as diverse as ``Symbols at Work and Play'' (which includes a relatively lucid passage from Jacques Derrida on ``the dubious relationship between a word and its referent'' and Stephen Katz's spoof on ``How to Speak and Write Postmodern'') and ``Science Without Scientism,'' featuring passages from Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend on the instability of scientific principles. Final chapters from Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Vaclav Havel about necessary links between politics and faith suggest where Anderson's real sympathies lie. That Anderson has chosen some of the most accessible writings on postmodernism available is both a strength and a weakness. Academics may view this work as a remedial postmodern primer, while the larger audience for whom the volume seems intended may still be put off by considerable vocabulary barriers: a problem of readership that points up the continuing chasm between what's on the minds of academics versus those of more regular folk. (Aug.)