Argues that the American Empire has now seen the passage of its most triumphant years and is rapidly approaching a period of increased social chaos in which cultural preservation will be a matter of individual conscience.
In the tradition of Christopher Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism, an urgent search for meaning amid the flotsam of disintegrating American culture. Like ancient Rome in the fourth and fifth centuries, the American Empire has now seen the passage of its most triumphant years and is rapidly approaching a period of increased social chaos. So argues Morris Berman in The Twilight of American Culture, one of the most caustic portraits of American society to date. Whether examining the corruption at the heart of modern politics, the "Rambification" of popular entertainment, or the collapse of our school systems, Berman's analysis makes clear that there is little we can do as a society to arrest the onset of corporate Mass Mind culture. Citing writers as diverse as de Toqueville and Don DeLillo, Berman argues that cultural preservation is a matter of individual conscience, a refusal to base one's life on kitsch or consumerism, profit or self-promotion. He discusses how classical learning might triumph over political correctness with the rise of a "a new monastic individual"--a person who, much like the medieval monk, is willing to retreat from conventional society in order to preserve its literary and historical treasures. The Twilight of American Cultureis a book no literate, thinking American can afford to be without.