With reading on the decline, scientific and historical illiteracy on the rise, and a mass media dedicated to the dumbing-down of our minds, it is crucial now more than ever to understand just how we got to this point and what we can do about it. This Sunday, Susan Jacoby will discuss her new book “The Age of American Unreason” to enlighten us on the aforementioned trends. Jacoby dissects a new cultural phenomenon at odds with our Enlightenment traditions that has at its core a disdain for logic and evidence, a triumphalist religious fundamentalism, a mediocre public education system (at best), and the triumph of infotainment. Jacoby’s analysis describes and points out this anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism for what it is and what it has cost us as a society.
The Age of American Unreason is Susan Jacoby’s eighth book. Jacoby’s “Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism” (2004), was hailed in The New York Times as an “ardent and insightful work” that “seeks to rescue a proud tradition from the indifference of posterity.” Among her other books are “Wild Justice: The Evolution of Revenge,” a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1984, and “Half-Jew: A Daughter’s Search for Her Family’s Buried Past.”