- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan (May 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0310232740
- ISBN-13: 978-0310232742
- Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 19.2 x 2.8 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,031,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Grasping for the Wind: The Search for Meaning in the 20th Century Hardcover – 1 May 2001
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From the Back Cover
Grasping for the Wind is an incisive and powerful analysis of 20th century Western civilization: what historical and cultural forces have shaped it and where it is headed. From Rembrandt, to the French Revolution, to Marilyn Monroe, to Martin Luther King, to the Beatles, to Stanley Kubrick, to MTV, to the Internet and beyond, lawyer and social commentator John Whitehead reveals the threads of influence that weave this present age.
The overarching theme of this book might best be expressed by the title of a Paul Gaugin masterpiece: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? Drawing on his formidable grasp of history, Whitehead reveals how the different ways in which society has sought to answer these questions through the centuries have influenced how we address them today.
"We seem to be at the end of a long experiment which began in the eighteenth century with philosophers such as Voltaire," says Whitehead. "The experiment has altered the traditional concepts of religion, art, music, and life itself. People now appear to be mere parts in the so-called machinery of life. If there is to be a restoration of hope and beauty, it must begin with the recovery of an appreciation for the uniqueness of each human being."
Writing from a third-millennial vantage point, Whitehead examines the progressive, unfolding interweaving of religion, philosophy, politics, the arts, psychology, and sociology. He explores the impact of jazz on sexual liberation . . . how World War II made death invisible, abstract, and indiscriminate . . . the impact of novelists on the upheavals of the 1960s . . . the protest movement of America's youth and the forces behind it, such as Bob Dylan . . . how the Beatles heralded change and offered hope to the youth culture . . . how technology continues to blur the line between humans and machines . . . and much more.
Here, from one of the most controversial and outspoken thinkers in today's public arena, is a brilliant, broad-ranging explication of 20th century culture: its building blocks, its notable landmarks, and its far-reaching influence. Grasping for the Wind is essential reading for all who seek to better understand the questions that continue to haunt our civilization, and for anyone interested in popular culture and its development.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I give it two stars instead of one because the author does make a few interesting connections along the way and does not bore the reader too much. The snarky asides though make you think of a priveleged white guy, with a slightly better than average education, giving a powerpoint at the country club about how the world has gone down hill since the Middle Ages and blames the Holocaust on Darwin and Modern Art. Oh yeah, btw Jazz is amoral, Rock is narcissistic, modern architecture has no soul, blah, blah, blah.
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