FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Culture of Complaint: The... has been added to your Basket

Dispatch to:
To see addresses, please
Please enter a valid UK postcode.
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See more of our deals.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America Hardcover – 1 Jan 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
£24.31 £0.01
Unknown Binding
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£27.00 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently bought together

  • Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America
  • +
  • Things I Didn't Know
Total price: £39.99
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

60 Kindle Books for £1
Browse our selection of Kindle Books discounted to £1 each. Learn more

Product details

  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (1 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195076761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195076769
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.4 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 288,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
    If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product description


'splendid diatribe ... The reader may sometimes flinch under the barrage of furious one-liners, but nobody could begrudge Hughes the pleasure he must have had in constructing them. Nothing ought to be compulsory reading, but I'd like to think that The Culture of Complaint might accidentally fall into the hands of a few schoolteachers on both sides of the Atlantic.'Times Literary Supplement

'a curious mixture of gritty truth and liberal piety ... On the attack he can be sensible as well as amusing.'Roger Kimball, Sunday Telegraph

'what sets this book apart is the fact that Hughes argues that the right is also guilty of supreme lack of connectedness to reality'Kevin Young, Living Marxism, August 1993

'Political correctness is out to clean up our speech and behaviour. This short book, by an Australian-born art critic who still values America as a Utopian site of experiment and pluralism, lucidly diagnoses where pc has come from and where it will take us if we don't watch out.'The Independent on Sunday

'his local insights are persistently invigorating ... Reading him, you are constantly aware of a mind cutting through sham and cant, doing marvellously trenchant things with language.'John Carey, Sunday Times

'infused with a generous and humorous spirit, of the sort that is indispensable to any authentic manifestation of outrage or impatience ... The immense value of his book is that it wants to uphold pluralism and experiment without compromising or qualifying the thing that makes these things at once possible and worthwhile - namely free inquiry and uninhibited debate.'Christopher Hitchens, Independent on Sunday

'Like all of Hughes's work it possesses not only wit, common sense and learning, but more than its fair share of intellectual courage. His criticism and his histories are so fresh and original in part because he is so shockingly different to what he is meant to think and say.'Michael Lewis, Literary Review

'It is frequently delightful, often very funny, and splendidly abrasive. It is also quite important ... He is also an excellent historian of the deep American roots of a therapeutic aesthetic ideal.'Fredric Paul Smoler, The Observer

'provocative and often amusing book ... throughout his book, Hughes maintains a good sense of humour about the absurd factionalism that has overtaken so much of American political and cultural life.'Michael Sheldon, Daily Telegraph

'it is as spirited and jolly a book as one is likely to find, even as it catalogues a host of grim trends that have overtaken US culture ... an agile and mellifluous quodlibetarian and damned funny too'Jim Holt, The European

From the Back Cover

The best-selling author of The Shock of the New, The Fatal Shore, and Barcelona here delivers a withering polemic aimed at the heart of recent American politics and culture. Culture of Complaint is a call for the reknitting of a fragmented and over-tribalized America - a deeply passionate book, filled with barbed wit and devastating takes on public life, both left and right of center. To the right, Hughes fires broadsides at the populist demagogy of Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson, Jesse Helms and especially Ronald Reagan ("with somnambulistic efficiency, Reagan educated America down to his level. He left his country a little stupider in 1988 than it had been in 1980, and a lot more tolerant of lies"). To the left, he skewers political correctness ("political etiquette, not politics itself"), Afrocentrism, and academic obsessions with theory ("The world changes more deeply, widely, thrillingly than at any moment since 1917, perhaps since 1848, and the American academic left keeps fretting about how phallocentricity is inscribed in Dickens' portrayal of Little Nell"). PC censoriousness and "family-values" rhetoric, he argues, are only two sides of the same character, extrusions of America's puritan heritage into the present - and, at root, signs of America's difficulty in seeing past the end of the Us-versus-Them mentality implanted by four decades of the Cold War. In the long retreat from public responsibility beaten by America in the 80s, Hughes sees "a hollowness at the cultural core" - a nation "obsessed with therapies and filled with distrust of formal politics; skeptical of authority and prey to superstition; its language corroded by fake pity and euphemism". It resembles " the corruption and verbosity of its senators, in its reliance on sacred geese (those feathered ancestors of our own pollsters and spin-doctors) and in its submission to senile, deified emperors controlled by astrologers and extravagant wives". Culture of Complaint is fired by a deep concern for the way Hughes sees his adopted country heading. But it is not a relentless diatribe. If Hughes lambastes some aspects of American politics, he applauds Vaclav Havel's vision of politics "not as the art of the useful, but politics as practical morality, as service to the truth". And if he denounces PC, he offers a brilliant and heartfelt defense of non-ideological multiculturalism as an antidote to Americans' difficulty in imagining the rest of the world - and other Americans. Here, then, is an extraordinary cri de coeur, an outspoken call for the reconstruction of America's ideas about its recent self. It is a book that everyone interested in American culture will want to read.

See all Product description

What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?

Customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
See all 8 customer reviews

Top customer reviews

on 1 June 1999
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 February 2013
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 September 2014
Format: Paperback
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 August 2011
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 August 2015
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 July 1998
Format: Hardcover
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 June 2009
Format: Paperback
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 March 1999
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Would you like to see more reviews about this item?

Pages with related products. See and discover other items: robert hughes, Black Friday Deals

Where's My Stuff?

Delivery and Returns

Need Help?