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Cynicism and the Evolution of the American Dream
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Cynicism and the Evolution of the American Dream (Paperback)

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Today we face America's most terrifying enemy ever: an indigenous insurgent army made up of millions of our own citizens. We snipe at each other from behind impregnable barricades of cynicism, mocking efforts to move ahead and scoffing at once-cherished national ideals. Diverse and resourceful warriors, we wield our cynicism as both sword and shield. "We have met the enemy, and they are us."

Still, what does cynicism really mean? The term is tossed about so carelessly these days that it may soon cease to have meaning at all. Cynicism and the Evolution of the American Dream defines the unique nature of American cynicism and traces its historical roots. It looks into its present causes and the many ways cynicism manifests itself, shaping all aspects of modern American life. Wilber W. Caldwell asserts that the disturbing growth of cynicism in America today results from a recent shift in the American Dream, the structure that holds the country together. Like all national dreams, the American Dream has mirrored our national experience and our collective character, as well as reflected our national mood, which has run a parallel course all the way from idealism through realism and skepticism to cynicism. Drawing on the disciplines of history, sociology, and philosophy, Cynicism and the Evolution of the American Dream will appeal to a broad audience of educated readers and offer hope for those who would eradicate such an insidious cancer.

Wilber W. Caldwell is the author of The Courthouse and the Depot: The Architecture of Hope in an Age of Despair. He lives in Atlanta.

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