- Gebundene Ausgabe: 256 Seiten
- Verlag: Knopf; Auflage: 1st (31. August 1999)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0375407081
- ISBN-13: 978-0375407086
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 19,8 x 13,3 x 2,7 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 60 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.898.013 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 31. August 1999
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Jedediah Purdy is only in his mid-20s, but there are times when, working your way through Purdy's precisely crafted sentences, you would swear that the author is an old man. The problem with the world today, Purdy says, is that too many of us have withdrawn from it. "Often it begins in ironic avoidance," he writes, "the studied refusal to trust or hope openly. Elsewhere it comes from reckless credulity, the embrace of a tissue of illusions bound together by untested hope." He urges a revitalization of the notion of public responsibility, "the active preservation of things that we must hold in common or, eventually, lose altogether." Purdy is well aware that politics, the most visible of the public arenas, is nowadays regarded as a training ground for opportunists and hypocrites. But he insists that if we invest our lives with a dignity rooted in "the harmony of commitment, knowledge, and work," even politics might be restored.
For Common Things is quick to make pronouncements along the lines of "Today's young people are adept with phrases that reduce personality to symptoms," without mentioning that it was their therapy-happy baby boomer parents who introduced words like passive-aggressive and repressed into their vocabulary--and without broaching the possibility that it was the combined failure of the '60s counterculture movement and the loss of faith in government attendant to the Watergate scandal that nurtured cynicism and ironic detachment within the boomers. (Well, perhaps solving the problem is more important than assigning the blame.) At times, the Harvard-educated author's erudition gets the best of him, and his prose takes on a certain academic stiffness. (One wonders, at such moments, if perhaps the book has its roots in a senior thesis.) But when Purdy focuses on personal matters related to his homeschooled West Virginia upbringing, one can detect traces of a passion and intensity that would be well worth developing in future writings. Which is not to say that Purdy doesn't feel strongly about the restoration of civic commitment; this book stands as proof that he does. But anybody can--and many people do--make impersonal assessments of the state of the world; there is a story, however, that only Jedediah Purdy can tell us about community and responsibility. The traces of that story in For Common Things may leave many readers clamoring for more details. --Ron Hogan
"Beautifully written, erudite, unpretentious and, most of all, earnest."--Newsday
"Purdy deserves high praise for vindicating the belief that civic engagement can still be meaningful, important and authentic."--Boston Book Review
"The kind of book one finds recommending unreservedly to friends, colleagues, and neighbors."--The Christian Science Monitor
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Read the book. I made me a better person. What more can I say.
....Purdy is spouting discredited socialist ideas? -- Give me a break. Just look at what Purdy says about Marx and about the failure of Communism. He's an anti-radical who claims that politics can never eradicate evil. Critics who call him a "socialist" are just using this as Limbaughspeak for "Democrat." Yeah, sure, his sympathies are with the Democrats more than with the Republicans. But this is not a partisan book. The target of his arguments is not intelligent Republicanism, but apolitical apathy. When he speaks with some favor about a policy idea that could be termed vaguely socialist -- a carbon tax -- he then turns around and says that government rules can never be enough.
I have yet to see a critic who says something smart about Purdy's central claim: we have a responsibility for maintaining the "common things" -- the moral, political and natural "ecologies" -- because we depend on these things to sustain the things we love. If you disagree with Purdy, explain what's wrong with this claim and with his arguments for this claim....
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