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American Nerd: The Story of My People

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American Nerd: The Story of My People Cover

ISBN13: 9780743288019
ISBN10: 0743288017
Condition: Student Owned
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

Most people know a nerd when they see one but can't define just what a nerd is. American Nerd: The Story of My People gives us the history of the concept of nerdiness and of the subcultures we consider nerdy. What makes Dr. Frankenstein the archetypal nerd? Where did the modern jock come from? When and how did being a self-described nerd become trendy? As the nerd emerged, vaguely formed, in the nineteenth century, and popped up again and again in college humor journals and sketch comedy, our culture obsessed over the designation.

Mixing research and reportage with autobiography, critically acclaimed writer Benjamin Nugent embarks on a fact-finding mission of the most entertaining variety. He seeks the best definition of nerd and illuminates the common ground between nerd subcultures that might seem unrelated: high-school debate team kids and ham radio enthusiasts, medieval reenactors and pro-circuit Halo players. Why do the same people who like to work with computers also enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons? How are those activities similar? This clever, enlightening book will appeal to the nerd (and antinerd) that lives inside all of us.

Review:

"In his charming and disarmingly serious study of the history of the 'nerd' in popular culture and throughout modern history, Nugent (Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing) succeeds in crafting a nuanced discussion without resorting to smugness or excessive cleverness. His prose is straightforward, but the writing is never dry, as Nugent maintains a brisk pace by chasing an entertaining series of tangents across short chapters. Discrete pockets of nerd-dom are carefully observed and analyzed, with an eye for connections that lead to unusual places. While there are engaging sections about more obvious nerd subjects like the rise of online gaming and the history of American science-fiction clubs, Nugent takes his book in surprising directions, such as the ethnic implications of the 'nerd' categorization, particularly in regard to Jewish and Asian stereotypes. In one chapter, Nugent finds correspondence between nerdiness and people with Asperger's syndrome, astutely drawing comparisons between the socializing problems experienced by both groups and positing that many of those considered 'nerds' historically might in fact be on the autism spectrum. Another unexpected detour, this one into the intense subculture of high school and college debaters, turns into an extraordinarily poignant meditation on the friendships engendered by shared passions. Swinging ably from personal anecdotes to historical perspective, Nugent's exploration of outcasts is a triumph." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

When I was assigned this review, the editor wrote me a note: "I hope you don't take offense at this, but your name sprang to mind as a reviewer for a book on nerds."

I probably qualify as a nerd because, among other things, I wrote a book about reading the encyclopedia — an activity that's up there on the dorkiness scale with speaking Elvish over ham radio.

But... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"American Nerd is very funny and consistently smart, but it's also mildly controversial — I'm not sure I've ever seen these kinds of cogent, intuitively accurate arguments made about any 'type' of modern person. Benjamin Nugent is just weird enough to be absolutely right." Chuck Klosterman, author of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs

Review:

"The coolest book about nerds ever written. Heck, one of the coolest books ever written, period. Benjamin Nugent is the Richard Dawkins of geekdom. Outsiders of the world, this is required reading. Know your roots!" Paul Feig, creator of Freaks and Geeks

Synopsis:

American Nerd explores the concept of nerdiness and the history of the nerd subculture: how they developed and how they have manifested in media, literature, schools, the workplace, and in the general public.

About the Author

Benjamin Nugent has written for The New York Times Magazine, Time, New York Magazine, Good and n plus 1. His book American Nerd: The Story of My People, a history of the nerd archetype mixed with reporting on nerd subcultures and memoir, will be published by Scribner in May. His first book, Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing, was published by Da Capo in 2004.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Shoshana, December 29, 2009 (view all comments by Shoshana)
This memoir-cum-treatise is hard to classify because Nugent mixes genres. Part memoir, part sociology, part speculation, it does not cohere as much as this nerd reviewer would like.

Speaking of this reviewer, I must say that Nugent does a poor job of characterizing female nerds. I know that I'm a nerd because I was told so; just as Jews may agonize about whether they're really Jewish, and nerds may endlessly dissect their relationship to nerdiness, the bottom line is, when they come for the Jews, will they come for you? The answer is, when they come for the nerds, they will come for me, because the minutiae of determining nerd versus something else is a nicety of no import to Those Who Come for Nerds.

Nugent, by the way, dabbles in nerd-dom but attempts to renounce it and distance himself from it. What a nerd.
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doovinator, July 4, 2008 (view all comments by doovinator)
I've definitely gotta get this one!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780743288019
Subtitle:
The Story of My People
Author:
Nugent, Benjamin
Publisher:
Scribner
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
Interpersonal Relations
Subject:
Personality
Subject:
Identity (psychology)
Subject:
Stereotypes (Social psychology)
Publication Date:
20070513
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 12.215 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Sociology » American Studies
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

American Nerd: The Story of My People Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.00 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9780743288019 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In his charming and disarmingly serious study of the history of the 'nerd' in popular culture and throughout modern history, Nugent (Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing) succeeds in crafting a nuanced discussion without resorting to smugness or excessive cleverness. His prose is straightforward, but the writing is never dry, as Nugent maintains a brisk pace by chasing an entertaining series of tangents across short chapters. Discrete pockets of nerd-dom are carefully observed and analyzed, with an eye for connections that lead to unusual places. While there are engaging sections about more obvious nerd subjects like the rise of online gaming and the history of American science-fiction clubs, Nugent takes his book in surprising directions, such as the ethnic implications of the 'nerd' categorization, particularly in regard to Jewish and Asian stereotypes. In one chapter, Nugent finds correspondence between nerdiness and people with Asperger's syndrome, astutely drawing comparisons between the socializing problems experienced by both groups and positing that many of those considered 'nerds' historically might in fact be on the autism spectrum. Another unexpected detour, this one into the intense subculture of high school and college debaters, turns into an extraordinarily poignant meditation on the friendships engendered by shared passions. Swinging ably from personal anecdotes to historical perspective, Nugent's exploration of outcasts is a triumph." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "American Nerd is very funny and consistently smart, but it's also mildly controversial — I'm not sure I've ever seen these kinds of cogent, intuitively accurate arguments made about any 'type' of modern person. Benjamin Nugent is just weird enough to be absolutely right."
"Review" by , "The coolest book about nerds ever written. Heck, one of the coolest books ever written, period. Benjamin Nugent is the Richard Dawkins of geekdom. Outsiders of the world, this is required reading. Know your roots!"
"Synopsis" by , American Nerd explores the concept of nerdiness and the history of the nerd subculture: how they developed and how they have manifested in media, literature, schools, the workplace, and in the general public.
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