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A Tolerable Anarchy: Rebels, Reactionaries,…

A Tolerable Anarchy: Rebels, Reactionaries, and the Making of American…

by Jedediah Purdy

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Deserving of a re-read. Purdy always manages to render, with much more clarity and breadth, many of my own thoughts. I will say this book left me a tiny bit confused at the end, as it became more prescriptive --in a very gentle way-- than descriptive. I guess I was just not expecting that, and it seemed a bit of a sudden turn.

That said, when all is said in done, he made a strong case for addressing issues of today with a wide open mind and great respect. As always with Purdy, a good read; better yet, something worth rereading. ( )
  dcunning11235 | May 21, 2014 |
I must say, reading this book began well. In each chapter, Mr. Purdy wove up to a quartet of famous historical figures who epitomized the American sense of freedom. In the middle chapters he incorporated Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt to denote a change in the course of our collective "self" as Americans.

As any higher level education professor should, he avoided cheering for sides or telegraphing his leanings. Yet, I began sensing an undercurrent that I couldn't quite palpate regarding his personal feelings. Doing yeoman's work at remaining non-committal, he began revealing some cards with his discussion of sodomy and religion.

However, in the last two chapters, beginning with our economy since 1776 - in general terms - he became fixated on "global warming." After a book dissecting and pondering America's sense of freedom and autonomy, he destroys his whole tacit acknowledgement towards our benevolence and individualism with his final chapter nearly a dissertation on global unity on "changing" our ways to stop global warming.

I felt as if I had been sucker punched in the final chapter. Touting our way of life, unique in the world, is totally disregarded to push for global governance to protect the world. ( )
  HistReader | Oct 16, 2012 |
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From the author of "For Common Things" comes a provocative look at the meaning of American freedom. Purdy works from the stories of individuals: Frederick Douglass urging Americans to extend freedom to slaves, Ralph Waldo Emerson arguing for self-fulfillment, and others.… (more)

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