Fantasyland

Fantasyland

eBook - 2017
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Random House, Inc.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The single most important explanation, and the fullest explanation, of how Donald Trump became president of the United States . . . nothing less than the most important book that I have read this year.”—Lawrence O’Donnell

How did we get here?

In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen shows that what’s happening in our country today—this post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through—is not something new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character. America was founded by wishful dreamers, magical thinkers, and true believers, by hucksters and their suckers. Fantasy is deeply embedded in our DNA.

Over the course of five centuries—from the Salem witch trials to Scientology to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, from P. T. Barnum to Hollywood and the anything-goes, wild-and-crazy sixties, from conspiracy theories to our fetish for guns and obsession with extraterrestrials—our love of the fantastic has made America exceptional in a way that we've never fully acknowledged. From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams and epic fantasies—every citizen was free to believe absolutely anything, or to pretend to be absolutely anybody. With the gleeful erudition and tell-it-like-it-is ferocity of a Christopher Hitchens, Andersen explores whether the great American experiment in liberty has gone off the rails.

Fantasyland could not appear at a more perfect moment. If you want to understand Donald Trump and the culture of twenty-first-century America, if you want to know how the lines between reality and illusion have become dangerously blurred, you must read this book.

Praise for Fantasyland

“With this rousing book, [Kurt] Andersen proves to be the kind of clear-eyed critic an anxious country needs in the midst of a national crisis.”San Francisco Chronicle

“A frighteningly convincing and sometimes uproarious picture of a country in steep, perhaps terminal decline that would have the founding fathers weeping into their beards.”The Guardian

“This is an important book—the indispensable book—for understanding America in the age of Trump. It’s an eye-opening history filled with brilliant insights, a saga of how we were always susceptible to fantasy, from the Puritan fanatics to the talk-radio and Internet wackos who mix show business, hucksterism, and conspiracy theories.”—Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci

Publisher: Random House Digital,, 2017
ISBN: 9781588366870
1588366871
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Baker & Taylor Axis 360
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks

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kat1109
Nov 06, 2017

This book is about 100 pages too long. The author makes his case over and over again to the point where I was glazing over and questioning his motivation. He posits a very interesting and credible theory, but he seems to take far too much delight in shaming virtually every aspect of American culture. It seemed elitist and arrogant. And he offered no solutions. No sage advice. I was interested in and open to the theory of the book, but his presentation and tone just turned me off.

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callig
Oct 12, 2017

America as a gigantic barrel of monkeys, all wearing superhero costumes, fighting each other! It, and this book is initially a fascinating and even blackly funny spectacle. What a show! But halfway through I started glazing over, started skimming and dipping. And by the three-quarter mark i'd given up. Talk about knocking down straw dogs. Much of a muchness.
Yes, the author has done a public service by marshalling all this madness and pointing out its commonalities, but it did get rather predictable.
I thought he was a bit harsh on survivalists. If i lived in america i'd want to escape, find a safe hole to hide in when the "excrement interfaces with the air circulation equipment", and surely, given american (environmental etc.) destructiveness, it must. And gun-owners; again, if i was surrounded by heavily-armed self-righteous and violent lunatics I'd be tempted to own a gun. A self-feeding firestorm, sigh.
Speaking of which, altho what he said seemed insightful, he hardly mentions the bellicosity of many americans, the extreme violence.
As one of the Terminator movies ended, "A storm is coming". Yes, to the storm called america.
My apologies and sympathies go to sane americans for my remarks, but you know it's the truth.

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StarGladiator
Sep 18, 2017

I shall endeavor to read this book even though I have always considered Kurty to be among the Fake News crew and especially a lightweight, not among journalism professionals!
As far as // perpetuating conspiracy theories, self-delusion, \\ the best sources I've seen which explain that are declassified CIA files, NSA files, State Department files, and stolen FBI files.
That's really all one need say on that subject.

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paul1
Nov 04, 2017

"..,the GOP more than any other U.S. institution, helped convince white people of an extraordinary falsehood underlying the others. For almost a generation now, according to a new study by professors at the Harvard Business School and Tufts, the average white American has subscribed to the fantasy that anti-white bias is a more serious problem in the the United States than anti-black bias" page 370

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