The Idea of Decline in Western History

Capa
Simon and Schuster, 1997 - 521 páginas
From Nazism to the sixties counterculture, from Britain's Fabian Socialists to America's multiculturalists, from Dracula and Freud to Robert Bly and Madonna, historian Arthur Herman examines the idea of decline in Western history and explains how the conviction of civilization's inevitable end has become a fixed part of the modern Western imagination. In a series of masterful biographical sketches, Herman examines the ideas of those who came to reject civilization as a doomed enterprise, including Arthur de Gobineau, the aristocratic founder of modern race theory; Friedrich Nietzsche, whose vitalist philosophy of irrationalism inclined a generation toward fascism and Nazism; and W.E.B. Du Bois, whose hostile view of the West would profoundly influence African-American thinking and multiculturalism. Ultimately, Herman shows how two of the most important issues facing contemporary America - race and the fate of the environment - have been shaped and distorted by the assumptions of cultural pessimism. From the Aryan Nation and Afrocentrism to the Unabomber, the myth of Western decline continues to exercise a pervasive influence. In many ways, Herman suggests, today's culture wars are ultimately a struggle between those who still recognize the importance of civilized and humanist values and those who do not.
 

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THE IDEA OF DECLINE IN WESTERN HISTORY

Comentário do usuário  - Kirkus

A learned study of the concept of decline since the Enlightenment, sure to generate widespread discussion and debate. A recent spate of books has proclaimed the ``end'' of just about everything from ... Ler resenha completa

The idea of decline in Western history

Comentário do usuário  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Herman, coordinator of the Western Civilization Program at the Smithsonian, argues, like Gress (above), that despite the West emerging triumphant from the Cold War, intellectuals continue to predict ... Ler resenha completa

Conteúdo

Introduction
1
Progress Decline and Decadence
13
Afloat on the Wreckage
46
Historical and Cultural Pessimism
76
Degeneration
109
PART
145
Black Over White
187
Welcoming Defeat
256
10 The Modern French Prophets
329
The Multiculturalist Impulse
364
EcoPessimism
400
Afterword
441
Notes
452
Bibliography
476
Acknowledgments
498
Direitos autorais

PART THREE
293

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