Cultural Amnesia: America's Future and the Crisis of Memory
Sixty percent of adult Americans don't know the name of the president who ordered the dropping of the first atomic bomb, 42% of college seniors can't place the Civil War in the right half-century, and 24% think Columbus discovered America in the 1500s. Meanwhile, more American teenagers can name the Three Stooges than the three branches of the federal government.
Applying the metaphor of Alzheimer's disease to our national state of mind, Bertman offers a chilling prognosis for our country's future unless radical steps for recovery are taken. He offers psychological insights into the nature of memory with perspectives on the meaning and future of democracy. With compelling evidence, the book demonstrates that cultural amnesia, like Alzheimer's disease, is an insidiously progressive and debilitating illness that is eating away at America's soul. Rather than superficially blaming memory loss on a failed educational system, Bertman looks beyond the classroom to the larger social forces that conspire to alienate Americans from their past: a materialistic creed that celebrates transience and disposability, and an electronic faith that worships the present to the exclusion of all other dimensions of time.
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It has become the very blood that now surges with increasing velocity through our
veins . Change , without doubt , can be salutary . It has always been the most
compelling reason to go on a vacation — to “ get away from it all ” and
who teaches English at the University of Virginia , “ Schooling has become more
about training and less about transformation . " 44 One of the most depressing
aspects of these findings is an apparent decline of idealism among the young .
In the words of Robert Hughes , 101 America has become a “ culture of complaint
, ” in which separate ethnic and racial groups view themselves as victims of
discrimination whose achievements have never received credit . They challenge
" e ...
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Prologue The Land of the Lotuseaters
Memory and Personal Identity
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