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America Paperback – 20 Sep 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books; New edition (20 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184467682X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844676828
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Since de Tocqueville, French thinkers have been fascinated with America. But when it comes to mysterious paradoxes and lyrical complexity no French intellectual matches Jean Baudrillard in contemplating the New World - [He] has become a sharp-shooting Lone Ranger of the post-Marxist left. --New York Times

About the Author

JEAN BAUDRILLARD (1929-2007) began teaching sociology at the Universite de Paris-X in 1966. He retired from academia in 1987 to write books and travel until his death in 2007. His many works include The Transparency of Evil, The System of Objects, The Perfect Crime, and The Spirit of Terrorism, all from Verso.


Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Utterly superb and crystalline observations.

Why any one or any nation feels affronted by observations is beyond my conception. Although the meta-narrative concept of Truth may have been abandoned, the postmodern notion of truth still exists and is no less valid. This text is a wonderfully balanced and clearly observed encounter with America at that point in history. it is not a definitive 'guide' or expose, because it was not supposed to be and besides such concreteness is pure illusion. So Baudrillard was French, so he cast his rapier vision Westwards? So what? It exists, get over it. Rather than offer any more comment I have chosen to offer instead, my favourite observations on the observations.

"One could almost believe that the American Deserts were created precisely in order to satisfy the cloud-stifled yearnings of northern Europeans" (p. XI)

"Clouds spoil our European skies. Compared with the immense skies of America and their thick clouds, our little fleecy skies and little fleecy clouds resemble our fleecy thoughts, which are never thoughts of wide open spaces." (p.16)

"Meaning is born out of the erosion of words, significations are born out of the erosion of signs" (p.4)

"Whose immanence is breathtaking, yet lacking a past through which to reflect on this, and therefore fundamentally primitive ... It's primitivism has passed into the hyperbolic, inhuman character of a universe that is beyond us, that far outstrips its own moral, social, or ecological rationale." (p.8)

"It is the saddest sight in the world. Sadder than destitution, sadder than the beggar is the man who eats alone in public. Nothing more contradict the laws of man or beast, for animals always do each other the honour of sharing or disputing each others' food.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The most striking thing about this book is that apart from some references to Reagan being in power in the 2nd half of the book you could easily forget this was written in the 80's as so much of it could be easily be applied to today. My personal preference with this book was approx the first 3rd with the seemingly disconnected paragraphs about the desert and travelling through America, the last 40 or so pages were too far off tangent for me and I got a bit bored to be honest.
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Format: Paperback
The ideal combination between travel book, literature and political philosophy. A very interesting and fascinating way of reading a country, its people, its culture, its highways. Must read.
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This is one of the more accessible books by Baudrillard, within which he takes the reader through a number of essays on America. I found the introduction (written by a scholar rather than by Baudrillard himself) to be overly complicated and inaccessible, which did the book itself no favours I'd suggest skipping and moving on to the main course.
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