Clear Sighted Historical Perspective
May 5, 2006
Reviewer: Dave Alber (CA) - See all my reviews
Morris Berman's Dark Ages America is an exceedingly well-researched study of contemporary America. More than exposing the problems of the present political regime, Berman's book exposes the large-scale structural dilemmas beneath the surface of American consciousness, which present an extraordinary amount of momentum toward a disastrous future. Gleaning insights from macro historical perspectives, such as present in Joseph Tainter's The Collapse of Complex Societies, Berman demonstrates that America has moved beyond the `Twilight' phase of its cultural history and that `post-9-11 America' is quickly moving into `Night.'
Berman explores four characteristics of the European Dark Ages. With exhaustive, always relevant, and often humorous findings, he demonstrates that contemporary America vigorously expresses (if not outright flaunts) these outward symptoms of cultural, moral, political, and economic decay. The signs are: the triumph of religion over reason; the breakdown of education and critical thinking; legalization of torture; and marginalization of the United States on the world stage.
Each page of Dark Ages America is compact with information, yet Berman's fluid and accessible prose pulls arguments and insights together into a clear-sighted and unified vision. For those readers who still see the light of youth in dead forms, this book will be a shocking revelation. However, for seekers of truth, this book is a sobering, yet ultimately hopeful vision of America's present cultural crisis. I highly recommend it!