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Amusing Ourselves to Death

Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


What happens when media and politics become forms of entertainment? As our world begins to look more and more like Orwell's 1984, Neil's Postman's essential guide to the modern media is more relevant than ever.

"It's unlikely that Trump has ever read Amusing Ourselves to Death, but his ascent would not have surprised Postman.” -CNN

Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell phones to DVDs—it has taken on even greater significance. Amusing Ourselves to Death is a prophetic look at what happens when politics, journalism, education, and even religion become subject to the demands of  entertainment. It is also a blueprint for regaining control of our media, so that they can serve our highest goals.

“A brilliant, powerful, and important book. This is an indictment that Postman has laid down and, so far as I can see, an irrefutable one.” –Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 01, 1985 – From the author of Teaching as a Subversive Activity comes a sustained, withering and thought-provoking attack on television and what it is doing to us. Postman's theme is the decline of the printed word and the ascendancy of the "tube'' with its tendency to present everythingmurder, mayhem, politics, weatheras entertainment. The ultimate effect, as Postman sees it, is the shrivelling of public discourse as TV degrades our conception of what constitutes news, political debate, art, even religious thought. Early chapters trace America's one-time love affair with the printed word, from colonial pamphlets to the publication of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. There's a biting analysis of TV commercials as a form of ``instant therapy'' based on the assumption that human problems are easily solvable. Postman goes further than other critics in demonstrating that television represents a hostile attack on literate culture. October 30

Customer Reviews

Excellent Book

Incredible book. I was required to read this book in school and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Postman's rhetoric is stunning and this book provides a great insight into technology (particularly television) that is rarely thought about. Very ironic that this book is available for e-readers.

Well written judgement.

it's not that television is bad. It's here to stay. It's how we use it and how we easily lose ourselves with the fast paced nonsensical flow of irrelevant images designed to capture our attention for a few moments and then the, "now... This".

I'm a realist. Tv is here to stay. It's not about the bad things it's how you decide to watch it and what you decide to watch. Above everything remember the majority of content is about entertainment from politics to education.

Great read. I'll probably read it again.

One of the most prescient works of the 20th century

Postman takes “media ecology” into the mainstream in this amazing work. The introduction is worth the price of the book. It is one of my top 5 books.

Amusing Ourselves to Death
View in iTunes
  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: Nov 29, 1985
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Print Length: 208 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings