“The Age of American Unreason picks up where Richard Hofstader left off. With analytic verve and deep historical knowledge, Susan Jacoby documents the dumbing down of our culture like a maestro. Make no mistake about it, this is an important book.”

–Douglas Brinkley, presidential historian and author of The Great Deluge


The Age of American Unreason (Vintage, 2009)


A cultural history of the last forty years, The Age of American Unreason focuses on the convergence of social forces-usually treated as separate entities-that has created a perfect storm of anti-rationalism. These include the upsurge of religious fundamentalism, with more political power today than ever before; the failure of public education to create an informed citizenry; and the triumph of video over print culture. Sparing neither the right nor the left, Jacoby asserts that Americans today have embraced a universe of “junk thought” that makes almost no effort to separate fact from opinion.





In January 2018, The Age of American Unreason will be released in a new paperback edition as The Age of American Unreason in a Culture of Lies, from Vintage Books.



Susan Jacoby’s national bestseller, The Age of American Unreason, was first published in 2008. In this new edition, she explains why many of the cultural trends she explored a decade ago—a public attention span reduced by digital dependency, the inability to distinguish between facts based on serious scholarly and journalistic research and rumors spread by social media, and the presence of continuous digital distractions—had more to do with the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016 than the conventional explanations usually advanced in the press.

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©2016 Susan Jacoby, all rights reserved