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One Nation, Two Cultures

A Searching Examination of American Society in the Aftermath of Our Cultural Rev olution

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Description

In One Nation, Two Cultures, one of today's most respected and articulate cultural critics gives us a penetrating examination of the gulf between the two sides of American society -- a divide that cuts across class, racial, ethnic, political, and sexual lines. While one side originated in the traditional idea of republican virtue, the other emerged from the counterculture of the late 1960s and has become the dominant culture of today.

In clear and vigorous prose, Himmelfarb argues that while the dominant culture pervades journalism, academia, television, and film, a "dissident culture" continues to promote the values of family, a civil society, sexual morality, privacy, and patriotism. The clash between these two cultures affects all areas of American society.

Despite her forceful critique, Himmelfarb sees encouraging signs for the future of American culture. She explores the place of religion, family, and the law in American life and proposes democratic remedies for the nation's moral and cultural diseases. Though there are many legitimate grievances against government, she contends, our citizenry cannot afford to delegitimize it. And she concludes that it is a tribute to Americans that, without serious social strife, we remain one nation even as we are divided into two cultures.

One Nation, Two Cultures is a stimulating work, one sure to provoke lively discussion and controversy.

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 01, 1999 – This is a complicated, disturbing treatise on the moral balkanization of contemporary society by a leading light of the intellectual right that, in spite of its urgent cadence, sings predictably in the dour choir of the culture wars. Himmelfarb (The De-Moralization of Society, etc.) draws on varied historical sources in order to see through the public spyglass darkly: she explores close correlations between this century's countercultural movements and various marked declines in the virtue of the polity, as exhibited in such alarming symptoms as the welfare state, with its insidious attack on individual motivation and choice, and the relation between widespread cohabitation and "alternative" parenting and a concomitant degradation of marriage. She extends this model, in succinctly constructed chapters, into many of our contentious cultural arenas: for example, discussing contemporary divides between a bland ideal of "civil religion" and competing factions of evangelism and secularism, viewing "fundamentalism," because it comes in various forms, as a pluralist creed. She depicts this sort of cultural schism--"dissidents" possessing religiously influenced moral lives and accustomed to traditional family models vs., for example, the triumphant social entropy of Clintonite governance and Hollywood pop-culture--as our current primary conflict, negating issues of class, wealth, labor or identity politics. Her arguments are forceful and sophisticated, but dovetail cleanly with contemporary rightist rhetoric: refusing to acknowledge, for instance, that participants in unorthodox lifestyles may subscribe to authentic frameworks of personal morality or that even flawed governmental-assistance initiatives may serve noble and necessary ends. This substantive, well-articulated volume is destined to provide credence to the dark fears of true believers.
One Nation, Two Cultures
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Politics & Current Events
  • Published: Nov 16, 1999
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 208 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 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.

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