cover image The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America Is Wracked by Culture Wars

The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America Is Wracked by Culture Wars

Todd Gitlin. Metropolitan Books, $25 (294pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-4090-6

Although these two studies look at political correctness from opposite poles, both authors exhort us to replace polemics with rational thought. Cheney, former head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, discusses postmodern thinking in academia, the arts, the media, and our legal system. She shows how fuzzy logic has weakened the standards of objectivity, pointing out as examples English and sociology faculty members who attack the scientific method and scholarly journals filled with ideologically slanted articles. Gitlin (The Sixties, Bantam, 1987) examines the question in a broader social context, believing it has been overblown by conservatives. He also criticizes liberals for abandoning their leadership role in the fight for equal rights for all. Conservatives are now the cultural arbiters, and special-interest groups from both camps are engaging in futile power struggles while the nation limps along without a sense of mission. Dinesh D'Souza's Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus (LJ 3/15/91) and Tom Englehardt's The End of Victory Culture (LJ 1/95) complement these titles. Cheney is recommended for public and academic libraries, while Gitlin will interest academic audiences. [Cheney was previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/95.]--Gary D. Barber, SUNY at Fredonia Lib.