Synopses & Reviews
Americans have traditionally placed great value on self-reliance and fortitude. In recent decades, however, we have seen the rise of a therapeutic ethic that views Americans as emotionally underdeveloped, psychically frail, and requiring the ministrations of mental health professionals. Today---with a book for every ailment, a lawsuit for every grievance and a TV show for every conceivable problem---we are at risk of degrading our native ability to cope with life's challenges.
Drawing on established science and common sense, Christina Sommers and Dr. Sally Satel reveal how "therapism" and the burgeoning trauma industry have come to pervade our lives, with a host of troubling consequences, including:
*The myth of stressed-out, homework-burdened, hyper-competitive, and depressed schoolchildren in need of therapy and medication
*The loss of moral bearings in our approach to lying, crime, and addiction
*The unasked-for "grief counselors" who descend on bereaved families, schools, and communities following a tragedy
Intelligent, provocative, and wryly amusing, One Nation Under Therapy demonstrates that "talking about" problems is no substitute for confronting them.
"'Cancer patients who talk about their ordeal in therapy groups do not live longer,' write Sommers (Who Stole Feminism?) and Satel (P.C., M.D.) in this suck-it-up polemic. For them, the pervasiveness of therapeutic thinking and practice in American life provides not healing catharsis but enervating psychic drag and evasion of responsibility. The authors marshal a litany of studies from a variety of perspectives, aiming to convince readers that taking one's lumps with as much equanimity as possible is far preferable to exploring one's feelings via an 'unwholesome therapism' or, worse, using one's 'therapized' feelings as an excuse for bad behavior. Placing themselves in the tradition of Christopher Lasch and Allan Bloom, they begin with 'The Myth of the Fragile Child,' decrying the creeping prohibitions on dodgeball and tag (seen by some as too aggressive and competitive) on the nation's playgrounds as coddling. The next chapter, 'Esteem Thyself,' takes direct aim at the ideas of Abraham Maslow and self-actualization advocate Carl Rogers, while the following chapters chronicle the descent from 'Sin to Syndrome' and 'Pathos to Pathology,' and track the enforcement of 'Emotional Correctness.' While basically a one-note book with little grace in its description of its foes, or in its insistent call for taking responsibility for one's own actions, Sommers and Satel's jeremiad will likely generate debate. Agent, Glen Hartley at Writers' Representatives. (Apr. 12)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Sommers and Satel's book is a summons to the sensible worry that national enfeeblement must result when therapism replaces the virtues on which the republic was founded---stoicism, self-reliance, and courage."
---George Will, The Washington Post
"Sommers and Satel have written an important book that should be widely read. Their analysis of the baneful consequences of narcissism and self-absorption is a powerful critique."
---Diane Ravitch, author of The Language Police
"There are countless reasons to celebrate the new book One Nation Under Therapy.
---Andrew Ferguson, Bloomberg.com
An expose of our inward-gazing, feeling-centered society and how we got that way.
"A straightforward assault on disturbing and dangerous trends that have entered the arena of medical care."--"The New Republic."
Praise for The War Against Boys by Christina Hoff Sommers, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year
"Provocative and controversial . . . Sommers's voice is impassioned and articulate."
- Marilyn Gardner, The Christian Science Monitor
"Ms. Sommers . . . makes [her] arguments persuasively and unflinchingly, with plenty of data to support them."
- Richard Bernstein, The New York Times
"This book promises to launch and influence an enduring national debate."
- Mary Eberstadt, The Washington Times
Praise for PC, M.D. by Sally Satel
"An excellent study of medicine and society."
- The Wall Street Journal
"A straightforward assault on disturbing and dangerous trends that have entered the arena of medical care."
- The New Republic
"An extraordinarily courageous, punctiliously researched, powerful new book."
- The Baltimore Sun
About the Author
Christina Hoff Sommers
is the author of Who Stole Feminism?
and The War Against Boys
and is the editor of Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life
, one of the most popular ethics textbooks in the country.
Dr. Sally Satel is a practicing psychiatrist and a lecturer at Yale University School of Medicine. She is the author of PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine.
Both authors are resident scholars at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.