COVID-19 Response at Fishpond.com.au

Read what we're doing...

For Common Things
By

Rating

Product Description
Product Details

About the Author

A Harvard graduate who was home schooled in rural West Virginia until he was fourteen, Jedediah Purdy is the author of four other books, Being America, The Meaning of Property, and A Tolerable Anarchy, After Nature. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School and is currently the Robinson O. Everett Professor of Law at Duke University.

Reviews

What could a 24-year-old Harvard graduate home-schooled by his "back-to-the-land" parents in rural West Virginia possibly have to say about the American soul? Much that is worth heeding. Purdy calls his book "a defense of love letters," noting that such letters "indicate a certain kind of courage, a willingness to stake oneself on an expression of hope that may very well come to nothing." Here, he expresses his hope for the public life of America. His enemy is the irony that he feels pervades our culture, a culture in which "even in solitary encounters with nature... we reluctant ironists realize that our pleasure in these places and the thoughts they stir in us have been anticipated by a thousand L.L. Bean catalogues." Whether writing about the coal industry's depredations in Appalachia or about the narrowing of politics (no one dares talk about a Great Society anymore), PurdyÄlike the masters whose sturdy prose he emulates, from Thoreau to Wendell BerryÄdisplays an acute awareness of the connection between private and public virtue. Purdy has an unerring ear for how language, and thus the expression of humanity, has been degraded, whether by political rhetoric, ad-speak or the way that sitcoms present the self. His book is inspiring in its thoughtfulness, in its commitment to the idea that politics should be about more than divvying up the pie and in the care with which it is written. The ideas expressed aren't complicated, but Purdy grapples with them with a seriousness that puts more seasonedÄand ironicÄcommentators to shame. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

This work stands as a highly personal call for greater individual involvement in American political and public life, despite the collective cynicism of modern times. Purdy, currently a student at Yale University, sees modern mass media and elite schools as dominated by an ironic, detached view of the world. This view plus the general disillusionment in public institutions as a whole and government in particular fosters a narrow, self-serving attitude among too many people. Modern technology such as computers, home video players, and genetic engineering contains the potential for additional individual isolation from the larger society and the gradual shrinking of the public sphere. Purdy draws from numerous sources to make his point, ranging from Montaigne to Seinfeld" to emblematic 1990s periodicals such as Wired and Fast Company. He closes with a plea for a public-oriented society with realistic limits on private excesses. Though well written, well argued, and admirably passionate, Purdy's book finally adds little to the discussion on the future course of modern society. For larger public and academic libraries.ÄStephen L. Hupp, Urbana Univ. Lib., OH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"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

Ask a Question About this Product More...
Write your question below:
Look for similar items by category
How Fishpond Works
Fishpond works with suppliers all over the world to bring you a huge selection of products, really great prices, and delivery included on over 25 million products that we sell. We do our best every day to make Fishpond an awesome place for customers to shop and get what they want — all at the best prices online.
Webmasters, Bloggers & Website Owners
You can earn a 8% commission by selling For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today on your website. It's easy to get started - we will give you example code. After you're set-up, your website can earn you money while you work, play or even sleep! You should start right now!
Authors / Publishers
Are you the Author or Publisher of a book? Or the manufacturer of one of the millions of products that we sell. You can improve sales and grow your revenue by submitting additional information on this title. The better the information we have about a product, the more we will sell!
Item ships from and is sold by Fishpond.com, Inc.
Back to top