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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
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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Format:Paperback
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. In this book the aspirations of the socialist central planners are shown to create more problems than they solve hence the title.
Magnet is a skillful writer and a deep and intricate thinker. While his observations are absolutely correct, his depictions of the carnage wrought are gentle and rancorless. To draw a contrast, Martin Gross, the equally intelligent author of the "the End of Sanity: Social and Cultural Madness in America", is far more trenchent and bitter in his denunciations of the same problems that Magnet describres.
Magnet's thesis is that the Socialist Left's embrace of Marxist as well as Freudian theory has accrued to poltical and social policies which have been incredibly destructive to the culture of the have-not's in America. When one considers that the Left has controlled the political process for the most of the last half century one cannot help but wonder what it takes for bad societal outcomes to stop bad social policies? Indeed the record is clear and the jury is in, Socialism is a loser. Even Western Europe is moving inexorably toword the Center-Right in election after election. Keynes is out and Hayek is in. The 3rd way is not the way.
Magnet goes through the underpinnings of Marxist theory and the intricate arguments of its more intellectual proponents. It never ceases to amaze how intelligent people can concoct such detailed and seemingly logical arguments to support such blatently sophist conclusions, but Magnet patiently weaves together his fabric of stories, facts and conclusions until you cannot resist agreeing with his solutions and his remedies.
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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 underhanded by all sides of the haves. This is no more than the continuation of blame shifting and deception. For example, the reparations argument is flawed. the position here is that substantial options exist to African Americans that there is no need for reparations. Further, the feeling that these descendants of slavery are so enraged at their situation that they have become paranoid with some illusion that a conspiracy exists that restrains their economical upward mobility. Perhaps the physically challenged also suffer from a fantasy. Is it their contention, dare say their rage, that they only imagine that side-walks without ramps preclude them from accessing vital services - restaurants, clothing shops, grocery stores, dry cleaners and in many cases employment; their upward mobility? Other ethnic group have similiar kinds of irrational suspicions they only imagined prison camps, torture, lose of dignity, disenfranchisement, and ovens that consumed their ancestors. Japanese were only under the pretense that the benevolent government of the most powerful country in the world locked them away for safekeeping. The record here also appears to have unwittingly become a contributor to the continuation of the paranoia. Could this suspicion or mistrust be only a figment of the mind? Could a people so noble be so callous, so calculating, so destructive to humanity? Will this people ever seek absolution for the horrors its policies in deed its actions caused, or just continue to intellectualize and explain it away? Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars very good book
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... Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2004
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
1.0 out of 5 stars What A Shame!
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. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Understanding a Need for truth
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... Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2003 by Gregory Nyman
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
3.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
Every American (and for that matter, anyone who might be affected by American policy) should read "The Dream and the Nightmare. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2001 by Andrew J. Stewart
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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