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The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass [Paperback]

Mryon Magnet
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2000
Myron Magnet’s The Dream and the Nightmare argues that the radical transformation of American culture that took place in the 1960s brought today’s underclass–overwhelmingly urban, dismayingly minority–into existence. Lifestyle experimentation among the white middle class produced often catastrophic changes in attitudes toward marriage and parenting, the work ethic and dependency in those at the bottom of the social ladder, and closed down their exits to the middle class.

Texas Governor George W. Bush’s presidential campaign has highlighted the continuing importance of The Dream and the Nightmare. Bush read the book before his first campaign for governor in 1994, and, when he finally met Magnet in 1998, he acknowledged his debt to this work. Karl Rove, Bush’s principal political adviser, cites it as a road map to the governor’s philosophy of “compassionate conservatism.”

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The legacy of the subtitle, according to Magnet, a Fortune magazine editorial board member and Manhattan Institute for Policy Research analyst, is "a liberal, left-of-central worldview" that, despite the intentions of the 1960s counterculture advocates, divides our society more fully than ever into Haves and Have-Nots. The sexual revolution and the focus on free "expressiveness" had the effect of holding "the poor back from advancement by robbing them of responsibility for their fate and thus further squelching their initiative and energy." The counterculture, as subscribed to by mainstream media, the federal courts and such figures as Ted Kennedy, befuddled the work ethic with idealistic notions of civil rights and fair wages. Finding a poverty of spirit in recent art, such as the fiction of Anne Beattie and Bret Easton Ellis, Magnet urges that we " stop the current welfare system, stop quota-based affirmative action . . . stop letting bums expropriate public spaces . . . stop Afrocentric education in the schools." Magnet offers many examples of societal ills but fails to make a convincing case that the legacy of the counterculture is the culprit.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

From Publishers Weekly: The legacy of the subtitle, according to Magnet, a Fortune magazine editorial board member and Manhattan Institute for Policy Research analyst, is "a liberal, left-of-central worldview" that, despite the intentions of the 1960s counterculture advocates, divides our society more fully than ever into Haves and Have-Nots. The sexual revolution and the focus on free "expressiveness" had the effect of holding "the poor back from advancement by robbing them of responsibility for their fate and thus further squelching their initiative and energy." The counterculture, as subscribed to by mainstream media, the federal courts and such figures as Ted Kennedy, befuddled the work ethic with idealistic notions of civil rights and fair wages. Finding a poverty of spirit in recent art, such as the fiction of Anne Beattie and Bret Easton Ellis, Magnet urges that we " stop the current welfare system, stop quota-based affirmative action . . . stop letting bums expropriate public spaces . . . stop Afrocentric education in the schools." Magnet offers many examples of societal ills but fails to make a convincing case that the legacy of the counterculture is the culprit. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

“To read Magnet is to realize that the conservative critique of contemporary America is the more-- indeed the only-- radical critique just now.”
– George F. Will

“The book of the decade…the most insightful analysis of what has gone wrong in America during the past thirty years I’ve seen.”
– Mona Charen, syndicated columnist

“It is rare for a single short book to case such penetrating light on the world in which we live that it instantly becomes an indispensable guide to the outstanding question of the day…The Dream and the Nightmare is a work of this extraordinary kind.”
– Hilton Kramer, The New Criterion

“An absorbing tale of how the honorable intentions of liberal do-gooders produced tragic consequences. It is also at heart a profoundly optimistic book…Many writers have addressed this topic in recent years but few have done so with more wisdom or more passion than Mr. Magnet.”
– The Wall Street Journal

“Guaranteed non-PC from beginning to end.”
– Tom Wolfe

“This superbly written and well argued book should stimulate discussions across the breadth of the political spectrum.”
– National Review

“A powerful analysis of the ties between 1960s-era intellectual trends and contemporary urban social breakdown.”
– New York Post

“It is a superb book, thoughtful and impassioned.”
– Irving Kristol

“A masterly overview…that yields extraordinary explanatory power.”
– Carolyn Lochhead, Reason

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Weren't dizzying contrasts of wealth and poverty supposed to have gone out with Dickensian London? Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read Aug. 29 2001
Format:Paperback
Every American (and for that matter, anyone who might be affected by American policy) should read "The Dream and the Nightmare." I say this not because the book is brilliant--it isn't--but because our intellectually handicapped President read it (no mean feat for a man who hates reading as much as he does) and declared that it was second only to the Bible in importance. Bush's strategist, Karl Rove, describes "The Dream and the Nightmare" as a "road map" to Bush's political philosophy.
That would be great if Myron Magnet's book were something else, something perhaps beautiful and inspiring. Instead, it's an impassioned diatribe against society's poor and disadvantaged. Magnet seems sincere in his desire to help people, but his suggestions generally boil down to one thing: Stop showing compassion. Don't fix welfare--just end it. Don't help people with substance abuse problems; they don't deserve it. And then there's: Don't help the homeless. It is perhaps Magnet's most callous utterance of all; as he tells it, if you gave homeless people absolutely nowhere to go, they would suddenly cease to be homeless. (They would certainly cease to be visible, which I guess is the true intention.) To his credit, Magnet has a few constructive things to say. He offers a good proposal for how to reform the welfare system, and he convincingly endorses magnet schools as a more effective alternative to desegregation by busing. He also includes an informative analysis of the problems facing the mentally ill in our country, though it eventually works its way into his argument that some people merit compassion...and some people don't.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very good book Feb. 5 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is part of a growing chorus of voices that are saying that not only are the hip and multicultural ideas garbage, but that they are quickly turning America into a third world country.
This book cuts through dumb ideas and tries to get us back to basics: functional families, responsibility for yourself, a work ethic -- this is the rather stringent prescription for an America that Magnet correctly describes as having run amok with bleeding heart liberalism and its dopey ideas of cheap sex, easy divorce, abortion on demand, and throwing money at the poor in the hopes that they will begin to function properly.
The book isn't elegantly written and there isn't any poetry in it, but this book sets the right prescription on the table. Read it if you want to get your head on straight.
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1.0 out of 5 stars What A Shame! Feb. 19 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Hearing that political guru Karl Rove gives a copy of this book to White House visitors, I decided to buy a copy and read it. I was disappointed to find an long winded diatribe, constantly whining about the Great Society, and blaming the social programs of the sixties for the problems of today. Mr Magnet misses the mark by several country miles.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Understanding a Need for truth Jan. 21 2003
Format:Paperback
This is one of the books that President George W. Bush said helped him to understand the newed to substitute a culture of responsibility for the false ideas of liberation that grew out of the l960's counter culture. The author explains how liberal ideological constructs concerning work, mental illness, and education produced awful consequences for the poor. They did for the rich as well, but a wealthy single mother had far more options, he says, than her counterpart. Magnet skewers warm fictions about homelessness leading to crime, noting that criminal behavior usually comes first.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Why ignore the facts? Sept. 20 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I find there is good reason for concern and even a taint of fear as this intent to polarize the situation regarding America's underclass persists despite historical fact revealing the "true" reasons the world is what it is today. The rise of the nation-state and the profit-seeking joint-stock companies under mercantilism largely, but partially, describe the rise of the world we see today. I am not a liberal, but to pin the entire blame of America's underclass struggles on leftist ideology is to severely and overtly miss the mark by ignoring hard historical fact. This confirms individuals' tendency to expose themselves to that which confirms their beliefs. The subject must be viewed holistically and not from a narrow political critique for sound and honest conclusions to be drawn. This book fails to do so.
The "developing" world has been left with the burden of cleaning up the aftermath of colonialism and we dare say retribution and a sincere effort to lift those who were stepped on in the process is not necessary? Puerto Ricans and blacks, for example, never voluntarily chose to become part of America. Blacks were enslaved by the millions thus impoverishing their origins and we dare say we don't owe the black community anything? Blacks were officially marginalized in America. The intent to intellectually and inhumanely argue away the harm that has been done is to ignore the existence of the scar that has been left in American society and the ethnocentrism and racialism that dominates mainstream American culture that has stymied the life chances of the majority of the so-called "underclass.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Just what conservatives are looking for
This book is well worth reading. In it you can witness first hand the twisted statistics and warped rationalizations necessary to justify the worsening disparity between the lives... Read more
Published on Aug. 10 2003 by Donald Detrich
5.0 out of 5 stars I can feel it coming in the edge of night, oh lord!
Myron Magnet, publisher of the quarterly "City Journal", has written an absolutely wonderful book about the best laid plans of mice and men going awry. Read more
Published on June 13 2002 by Eugene A Jewett
5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique and Incisive Book
The Dream and the Nightmare is one of the rare books that will
change your perception of reality forever. Read more
Published on Oct. 19 2001 by Greenwich Village Conservative
2.0 out of 5 stars Still trying to reason away the real cause of the underclass
Confession is good for the soul to reject it is to continue the manifestation of the wrong. This Dream, it was always the nightmare of the underclass, played expertly and... Read more
Published on Sept. 9 2001 by Unconverted
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Only What Went Wrong, but How It Can Be Reversed
Myron Magnet's The Dream and the Nightmare is brilliant because it not only gives the statistics and endless accounts of what has gone wrong since the start of the United States'... Read more
Published on April 29 2001 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A straight-talking blueprint for urban renewal
The tenor of the few negative reviews of this book should, ironically, be sufficient to assure potential readers of the cogency of its argumentation. Read more
Published on April 12 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye-opening treatise!
History and political science blend in this survey of the 1960s' legacy to modern times. Here Magnet argues that the radical events of the 1960s brought today's underclass and... Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2000 by Midwest Book Review
5.0 out of 5 stars Why The World Is The Way It Is
I read the original edition of this book and it is still the most important social commentary I've ever read. Read more
Published on July 7 2000 by Vincent Basehart
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