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Dark Ages America

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Dark Ages America

The Final Phase of Empire

W.W. Norton,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Berman draws a dark picture of American society and politics, and provides a gloomy outlook for the country’s future.

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Editorial Rating



This book laments prevailing U.S. policy, its declining civilization, current administration and dominant economic order. Author Morris Berman predicted bad times in his last book, The Twilight of American Culture, and in his eyes, they have come to pass. He is comprehensive, albeit not necessarily objective, in his charges, concerns and criticisms. His recaps of previous administrations, and his explanations of current policies are detailed and interesting. However, the depth of his dismay make his heartfelt arguments veer into intemperate language and leads to uneven presentations of some issues. Berman offers intriguing reasons to oppose much in the political, philosophical and societal evolution of the U.S. He examines the impact of Sept. 11, 2001, including the resulting foreign and domestic policies. He diagnoses a paucity of public debate and decries blows to civil liberties. getAbstract recommends this book to those who want to understand a point of view that departs from standard political thinking.


Gathering Shadows

George W. Bush's re-election signaled the transition of the U.S. from twilight to a dark age. The Bush administration operates on the basis of loyalty and unquestioning obedience, without critical thinking or inquiry. In fact, the administration seems very clearly to be pursuing a plan for violent world domination. Yet, at the very moment in which the U.S. has emerged as the sole global superpower, its conduct suggests weakness and decay. The use of torture, the economy's decline and the absence of any real public interest in reform leave little hope for positive change.

America's modernity is a phenomenon of protean change. On its current disastrous path, it seems to lack a fixed identity, a foundation. The restrictions of the Bretton Woods system created a protective environment for the development of a welfare state. Changes in Bretton Woods eliminated the structure that provided stability, security and even a degree of humanity. In the wake of those shifts, floating currency exchange rates encouraged speculative flows of capital, widened the rich-poor gap and empowered a pernicious "Wall Street-Treasury Department complex." All of these contribute...

About the Author

A cultural historian and social critic, Morris Berman is the author of The Reenchantment of the World, Coming to Our Senses, Wandering God and The Twilight of American Culture.

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