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5.0 out of 5 stars The cerebral and the visceral
I felt compelled to read this book after reading a scathing review in Harper's. The review seemed so infantile and gratuitous -- and so thoroughly acerbic -- that it made me wonder why they would bother to write about the book in the first place. Having read it, I must confess that I don't always share the author's vision, particularly some of his ideas on irony,...
Published on 31 Aug. 1999

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1.0 out of 5 stars Irony lives: talentless author marketed as the next Thoreau!
After reading this book, I must say that I agree wholeheartedly with the accurate reviews I read in Harper's and the New York Observer. Here is a young author with little talent who the conscienceless corporate conglomerate presses are marketing with comparisons to Thoreau. O, the infinite irony of a book that portends to be against irony (as if you can be against a...
Published on 6 Sept. 1999


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Irony lives: talentless author marketed as the next Thoreau!, 6 Sept. 1999
By A Customer
After reading this book, I must say that I agree wholeheartedly with the accurate reviews I read in Harper's and the New York Observer. Here is a young author with little talent who the conscienceless corporate conglomerate presses are marketing with comparisons to Thoreau. O, the infinite irony of a book that portends to be against irony (as if you can be against a literary device which is used to reach those ineffable truths)! For there is no wit in the book, which reads beyond its years as a sophomoric blend of a new-age critique of the free market and an advocate of socialism. It is easy to see why the marketing managers at Knopf went for it, in this age of postmodern liberal irony-- Jedediah conforms to all their rules. Simply put, Thoreau was a poet who penned memorable phrases, who sang out for freedom, who lived in the woods. Jedediah has lived in dorms at Harvard and Yale, his prose carries a thesaurus en route to nowhere, and thus the marketing managers have deemed him the ultimate backwoodsman and poet. Isn't it ironic-- don't you think?
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5.0 out of 5 stars The cerebral and the visceral, 31 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
I felt compelled to read this book after reading a scathing review in Harper's. The review seemed so infantile and gratuitous -- and so thoroughly acerbic -- that it made me wonder why they would bother to write about the book in the first place. Having read it, I must confess that I don't always share the author's vision, particularly some of his ideas on irony, but only a cynic hardened to the point of imbecility would fail to see the value of this work -- which manages to be at once cerebral and visceral. Purdy's background is indeed unique, and surely helped shape his ideas about the American reality, but his ideas stand on their own merit -- and the courage of his candidness is admirable. While the book seems at times like a compendium of essays that don't always thread together seamlessly, Purdy's thought process is impressively astute.
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4.0 out of 5 stars For Common Things is an uncommonly thoughtful read, 14 Jan. 2001
By A Customer
Cogent, uncluttered & absorbing thoughts from a centered young man in this modern college world. Drawing on a wide range of sources from Henry David Thoreau to Jerry Seinfeld; from Edmund Burke to Alexis de Tocqueville to the Bible, this little book is all about the health of living in the public life of a democracy & the world of nations at large upon this varied & much trammeled planet.
Jedediah Purdy's thoughts range from avoiding the world to gene therapy; from the business world to the practice of politics; from the meanings of words to the meaning of public responsibility. It has a splendid Bibliography, a useful Index & something to say.
Made me take another look at life here in these United States - how we got to where we are & why. An impressive first effort!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 13 July 2014
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Hani Almendary (EUROPE-ITALY) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: For Common Things: Irony, Trust and Commitment in America Today (Vintage) (Paperback)
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