Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline
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WHY AMERICA FAILED: The Roots of Imperial Decline
WHY AMERICA FAILED: The Roots of Imperial Decline (Wiley; ISBN: 978-1-118-06181-7; $25.95 / Cloth / NOVEMBER 2011) is the third and most engaging volume of Morris Berman's trilogy on the decline of the American empire. He has developed a near fanatical following from The Twilight of American Culture and Dark Ages America, and in his most ambitious work to date, WHY AMERICA FAILED looks at the "why" of it all.
WHY AMERICA FAILED argues that we Americans don’t realize what a strange way we’ve learned to live. Paul Fussell, in his book Class, expressed a very low opinion of this supposedly normal way of life: “In the United States,” he writes, “everything is coated with a fine layer of fraud.” Berman suspects this is why we always rate low on international happiness polls: very few of our relationships are real, including our relationship to our work. Consequently, our lives are pretty empty. We’re told to fill that emptiness with cars and houses and computers and cell phones. As one of Jimmy Carter’s advisers put it thirty-two years ago, the U.S. is “a goal-oriented society without goals.” But “more” is not a real goal.
Though it is a simply history, WHY AMERICA FAILED is a controversial work, one that will shock, anger, and transform its readers. The book is a stimulating and provocative explanation of how we managed to wind up in our current situation: economically weak, politically passé, socially divided, and culturally adrift. It is a tour de force, a powerful conclusion to Berman's study of American imperial decline.