May 07, 2006

Clear Sighted Historical Perspective

Review of Dark Ages America
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!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

( corrected text )
Re: Communitarianism, the unspoken
word in your book.

So I'm on page 94 now.
I noticed some pages back a ref. to
Robert Bellah, I already noted about
you being at a sectarian school.
And there's the disjunction
materialistic-laissez-faire vs.
tribal-hierarchy. So
(again I'm only on page 94), so
I figure you are subjacently suggesting
a "communitarian" "alternative"
Well , I remember on the eve
of the 1st gulf war hearing
Christopher Lasch going on and
on about "martial virtue".
Oh well the martial "arts" are
always the most hallowed arts
of ..... .... well , I'll get
back to you in a hundred pages or so

6:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Anonymous: On Communitarianism, check out ch.9, footnote 1.--mb

2:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Christian fundamentalism in this country...[is] not really much of an answer to the American spiritual crisis, and is in fact only another manifestation of it. It certainly won’t stave off the disintegration of our civilization and is more likely to hurry the process along…it has no real spiritual depth..." [Page 285].

Although I am an ordained Bible-embracing, Protestant Christian minister, I thoroughly concur with this assessment. Contemporary American Christianity (both Fundamentalist & Evangelical models) has drifted from its historical & purely Biblical roots. It is a sickly, disgusting caricature of what once was.

2:35 PM  

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