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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. 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...
Published on June 13 2002 by Eugene A Jewett

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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." 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...
Published on Aug. 29 2001 by Andrew J. Stewart


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2.0 out of 5 stars Why ignore the facts?, Sept. 20 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass (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."
I believe in personal responsibility, but I have witnessed in America, and abroad, the harsh realities many people (including indigenous peoples) are subjected to in severely stratified societies where elitism is the rule and pluralism, although highly applauded in state constitutions, is the exception.
I suggest you read this book with an open and critical mind. That you research and lay out a dichotomy of facts before you and then let the truth gravitate you towards an honest conclusion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I can feel it coming in the edge of night, oh lord!, June 13 2002
By 
Eugene A Jewett "Eugene A Jewett" (Alexandria, Va. United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass (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.
The theories of both Freud and Marx, as depicted in this book, are on the outside looking in at this point in history, but a fierce rear guard action is still being fought by the true believers in academia, Hollywood, the major media and the major book publishers. In this book Magnet shows them the way to redemption. When will they listen?
To those of us willing to acknowledge the turning of the wheel of history, Magnet does a marvelous job in helping us transition from the old to the new. This book is purportedly the most important book read by "W" other than the bible, and it is said to form the basis for his stance as a compassionate conservative. It should be read by everyone seeking to understand how we got here and where we're going to go.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Still trying to reason away the real cause of the underclass, Sept. 9 2001
This review is from: The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass (Paperback)
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? There is much to much blame to assign, however the fact remains that slavery was profitable and lots of people made lots of money. All but the people, now your "underclass", that provided the labor, the wherewithal, the gold at the end of the rainbow, the capital needed to fund the American experiment.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, Aug. 29 2001
By 
Andrew J. Stewart (Baltimore, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass (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.
I highly recommend "The Dream and the Nightmare" as a means of understanding Bush's political agenda (that is, whatever portion of it isn't dictated to him by corporate interests), though the reader is warned that this book is dense and extremely boring (hence 3 stars). In all honesty, I can't say I believe that our President actually read it. It's disquieting indeed to think that Bush may be legislating ideas proposed in a book he hasn't read; but then, that would be no worse than any of the other disquieting things he has done in the course of his catastrophic political career.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not Only What Went Wrong, but How It Can Be Reversed, April 29 2001
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This review is from: The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass (Paperback)
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' mid-20th century cultural revolution, but it also explains WHY those areas deteriorated (some have improved, obviously) and how they can be reversed. Along with Marvin Olasky, Myron Magnet is considered a foundational author of the compassionate conservatism philosophy that President Bush campaigned upon during the 2000 presidential election. This is Magnet's manifesto for that philosophy.
In this book Mr. Magnet traces the roots of the radical shift that the privileged classes, the "Haves" as he labels them, enacted upon the culture of America and the entire Western world. He documents how in the middle 1900s these intellectuals, with a worldview based in Marxism and Freudianism, used America's universities and judiciaries to take hold of the system and transmogrify it to fit their causes, many which were originally well-meaning but ultimately, and tragically, misguided. The results of their success in turning America's previous culture on its head are seen throughout our society, but its effects have been far more pernicious to the impoverished, or, the "Have-nots." The change in crime, illiteracy, illegitimacy, income and many other telling rates from the American underclass began almost instantly and are now staggeringly depressing. Most of us have seen these numbers repeated ad infinitum, but this book will show you how and why these things happened in a way that many other social commentaries will not. This is a fantastic work that addresses a sad topic with an optimistic tone. It is one that all Americans should read and explain to their families and children as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why the World Is The Way It Is, July 7 2000
This review is from: The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass (Paperback)
I read the original edition of this book and it is by far the most important social/political critique I've ever read. If you've ever asked yourself, "Why is the world the way it is today?", this book will help provide an answer. It indicts liberalism for its devastating social experimentation, utilizing a priori logic while never demonizing the intentions of liberals (a break the left never gives conservatives). Magnet explains that it's not liberal intentions which were wrong, but the incentives and disincentives created by liberal social policies which were so tragic, particulary for poor minorities. Ideas which were radical just thirty years ago have become unquestioned mainstream assumptions, the very Establishment itself.
Every social problem we face today, from crime to drug addiction, broken families to school violence can be traced back to the absolute sea-change America and the rest of the West went through during the Sixties and early Seventies. The impact of that time can not be overstated yet Magnet manages to explain this in a rather slim volume. Anyone looking for answers will find them in this excellent, passionate book. Things will make sense after reading it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Conservative Classic Marred by a Poor New Introduction, May 1 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass (Paperback)
This book is an enormously colorful and readable analysis of how the "do your own thing" culture backfired on the American underclass, and it richly deserves to be back in print. Yet I had to subtract a star from my review given the author's score-settling and even small-mind new introduction. Instead of taking the opportunity to use a new introduction to sum up the policy changes that have occurred since the book first appeared (although he does some of this), the author primarily takes to task his earlier critics and thumbs his nose at them, while reminding us how influencial he is with George W. Bush. (Beware authors emphasizing what a emminent person "told me.") In one gratuitious passage, the author spends more time reminding us that a reformed homeless advocate had initially disagreed with him than celebrating the advocate's sensible conversion. A self-serving tone mars what could otherwise be a fine opportunity to reintroduce this book to a new generation of readers. Don't get me wrong -- I'm a fan of the book and I recommend it to others. But the nature of Magnet's introduction makes it more difficult to expose new readers to his ideas.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very good book, Feb. 5 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Why The World Is The Way It Is, July 7 2000
This review is from: The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass (Paperback)
I read the original edition of this book and it is still the most important social commentary I've ever read. For those who have ever asked, "Why is the world the way it is today?", this book will explain it.
Magnet traces all of our current social problems- from crime to drug addiction, broken families to pregnant teenagers to school violence - to the liberal social experimentation of the Sixties and early Seventies, using pure a priori logic, not demagoguery.
Additionally he shows how those once radical ideas have become our mainstream, unquestioned assumptions, the very Establishment itself; conservatives are now the radicals shaking up the system.
Enormously enlightening for anyone who really wants to understand our current social predicaments.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique and Incisive Book, Oct. 19 2001
This review is from: The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass (Paperback)
The Dream and the Nightmare is one of the rare books that will
change your perception of reality forever. Magnet uses all kinds of data and analysis to show what a tragedy welfare has been for the poor. Those who earnestly wanted to help the less fortunate instead sent them on a downward spiral towards despair and desperation. The welfare system created by the Federal Government was much worse than a $5 trillion waste of money--it undermined and set back the progress of Americas poor by a hundred years. Myron Magnet has done a service to the country, as he wrote, first thing to do when you're in a hole is to stop digging!
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The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass
The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass by Mryon Magnet (Paperback - April 1 2000)
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