Synopses & Reviews
Why is it that while millions of people all over the world dream about living in the United States, many American intellectuals believe that this is a uniquely deformed and unjust society? Why do college students today have greater pride in their country than many of their teachers? How did the radical beliefs of the '60s survive and become, for many Americans, the new conventional wisdom? How is it possible that while communist systems are collapsing and seek a market economy, critics in the United States remain convinced of the evils of capitalism? Why are there more Marxists on any handful of American campuses than all over Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union? How can we explain that for important opinion makers at home and abroad, the United States has become a symbol of waste, greed, corruption, social injustice, and arrogance?
While anti-Americanism abroad has been often noted and sometimes lamented, until now it has not been closely examined nor compared to domestic social criticism. Paul Hollander's volume is the first systematic study of this phenomenon both in its domestic and foreign aspects. Making use of a vast amount of information (ranging from surveys, mass media, popular culture, novels, the literature of social criticism, and social scientific studies), Hollander separates the justified critiques of the United States from anti-Americanism, which he defines as a biased predisposition against American society, culture, or U.S. foreign policy, an attitude he compares to other hostile predispositions such as sexism, racism, or anti-Semitism.
Domestic anti-Americanism is found mostly among academic and literary intellectuals, the left-leaning clergy, and people associated with the mass media--more generally among those who came of age in the 1960s. Despite more than a decade of Republican presidents, the author argues that many taken-for-granted beliefs of our times can be traced back to the adversarial spirit of the '60s. What once was daring social criticism has become the new orthodoxy, or what has come to be known as "politically correct behavior." The latter also finds expression in the increasingly widespread "multicultural" or "cultural diversity" studies, which combine hostility toward American society with aversion toward Western culture as a whole. Also symptomatic of these attitudes was the love affair of the American left with Marxist-Leninist Nicaragua reminiscent of the political pilgrimages of the past which the author has also written about in his widely praised Political Pilgrims.
Born in Hungary and educated in Hungary, England, and the United States, the author has written extensively about the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and the United States. In this study he seeks to balance a critical analysis of anti-Americanism with the recognition that the modernity the U.S. spreads and symbolizes can sometimes be viewed with justified apprehension.
Anti-Americanism is a lively and provocative volume which will elicit some impassioned responses, much discussion, and controversy.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 469-504) and index.
About the Author
About the Author -
Paul Hollander is Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Fellow of the Russian Research Center at Harvard University. Besides Political Pilgrims, he is the author of Soviet and American Society, The Many Faces of Socialism, The Survival of the Adversary Culture, and the forthcoming Decline and Discontent: Communism and the West Today.