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Rendezvous with Oblivion: Reports from a Sinking Society

de Thomas Frank

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Essays. Politics. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

From the acclaimed author of Listen, Liberal and What's the Matter with Kansas, a scathing collection of his incisive commentary on our cruel timesperfect for this political moment

What does a middle-class democracy look like when it comes apart? When, after forty years of economic triumph, America's winners persuade themselves that they owe nothing to the rest of the country?

With his sharp eye for detail, Thomas Frank takes us on a wide-ranging tour through present-day America, showing us a society in the late stages of disintegration and describing the worlds of both the winners and the losersthe sprawling mansion districts as well as the lives of fast-food workers.

Rendezvous with Oblivion is a collection of interlocking essays examining how inequality has manifested itself in our cities, in our jobs, in the way we traveland of course in our politics, where in 2016, millions of anxious ordinary people rallied to the presidential campaign of a billionaire who meant them no good.

These accounts of folly and exploitation are here brought together in a single volume unified by Frank's distinctive voice, sardonic wit, and anti-orthodox perspective. They capture a society where every status signifier is hollow, where the allure of mobility is just another con game, and where rebellion too often yields nothing.

For those who despair of the future of our country and of reason itself, Rendezvous with Oblivion is a booster shot of energy, reality, and moral outrage.

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Exibindo 3 de 3
thomas seems like a smart guy. some interesting thoughts, though this probably didn't need to be a book?
  rottweilersmile | Feb 28, 2022 |
Although a collection of already-published essays, this book is well worth the read. Frank is at his trenchant best as a social critic, and his essays on subjects as diverse as the McMansion, "vibrancy", and DYKWIAs (Do You Know Who I Am) are classic, trenchant, well-written and witty. The essays on education and the university system are absolute must reads for anyone who wants to understand the roots of inequality and the hegemony of free market neo-liberal ideology in present day America. This is Frank's best since his "One Market Under God". ( )
  bearymore | Feb 24, 2019 |
Having been mightily impressed by Listen, Liberal, I really looked forward to the next insight by Thomas Frank. Unfortunately, Rendezvous With Oblivion is simply a collection of earlier essays, and not any deep new thought to set politicos back on their heels. These reprints are mostly a dated look backward, with much less value than new insight. Once read, they can be forgotten.

Some of them are really forced. Frank has access to Lexis/Nexis, so he can research the obscure, like how many nonprofits use the word “vibrant” in their mission statements. And then he quotes many of them. This is boring. A lot of others trounce Trump, everyone’s favorite whipping boy. Too easy. And there is his tired prescription for Democrats to take back the country. It is a complex mélange of tactics the Democrats won’t adopt and which won’t work. What they need is a clean, honest, charismatic leader, and they don’t have one. Even on the horizon. But Frank doesn’t see that. He’s still mourning Hillary. Really.

I think the best essay concerns presidential libraries. Frank visited three – Bush I, Clinton and Bush II, and was scathing in his appreciation. For lack of anything worthwhile, they all have life-sized replicas of the Oval Office and souvenirs like the president’s actual limo. Right there, live in front of you! They rationalize the subject’s term, minimizing or hiding their blunders and playing up their successes, if any. Mostly, they are an astonishing waste of money: half a billion dollars for the Bush II library, for example.

Fortunately, Frank writes engagingly. He keeps your attention with the promise of intelligent discourse. This covers a lot of sins, and makes Rendezvous With Oblivion readable, if not memorable.

David Wineberg ( )
  DavidWineberg | Mar 24, 2018 |
Exibindo 3 de 3
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Essays. Politics. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

From the acclaimed author of Listen, Liberal and What's the Matter with Kansas, a scathing collection of his incisive commentary on our cruel timesperfect for this political moment

What does a middle-class democracy look like when it comes apart? When, after forty years of economic triumph, America's winners persuade themselves that they owe nothing to the rest of the country?

With his sharp eye for detail, Thomas Frank takes us on a wide-ranging tour through present-day America, showing us a society in the late stages of disintegration and describing the worlds of both the winners and the losersthe sprawling mansion districts as well as the lives of fast-food workers.

Rendezvous with Oblivion is a collection of interlocking essays examining how inequality has manifested itself in our cities, in our jobs, in the way we traveland of course in our politics, where in 2016, millions of anxious ordinary people rallied to the presidential campaign of a billionaire who meant them no good.

These accounts of folly and exploitation are here brought together in a single volume unified by Frank's distinctive voice, sardonic wit, and anti-orthodox perspective. They capture a society where every status signifier is hollow, where the allure of mobility is just another con game, and where rebellion too often yields nothing.

For those who despair of the future of our country and of reason itself, Rendezvous with Oblivion is a booster shot of energy, reality, and moral outrage.

.

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