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Bret Easton Ellis. Knopf, $25.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-525-65630-2

Political correctness is destroying America’s mind and soul, according to this contentious manifesto. Novelist, screenwriter, and podcaster Ellis, whose American Psycho sparked a furor with its grisly rapes and murders, lambastes “the threatening groupthink of progressive ideology, which proposes universal inclusivity except for those who dare to ask any questions.” He focuses on social-justice hysteria in the entertainment and media industries: critics of mediocre movies by or about women, gays, and minorities, he contends, get tagged with upholding white male privilege; social media platforms enforce “corporate conformism and censorship... stamping out passion and silencing the individual;” Trump Derangement Syndrome consumes Ellis’s Hollywood associates and his boyfriend, who is obsessed with Russia-collusion theories. Ellis’s loose-jointed essay weaves in scenes from his days as an alienated writer adrift in Manhattan, film criticism, and an impassioned defense of artistic transgression, arguing that “to be challenged... to get wiped out by the cruelty of someone’s vision” promotes a mature understanding of life. Ellis’s pop-culture preoccupations sometimes feel callow—he paints Charlie Sheen and Kanye West as America’s last free men—and his critique of leftists as “haters” who “came across as anti-common sense, anti-rational and anti-American” is an unoriginal reprise of ideas commonplace to right-wing media outlets. Still, his vigorous, daring take on today’s ideological wars will provoke much thought and more controversy. [em](Apr.) [/em]