"From Nazism to the sixties counterculture, from Britain's Fabian Socialists to America's multiculturalists, from Dracula and Freud to Robert Bly and Madonna, historian Arthur Herman examines the idea of decline in Western history and explains how the conviction of civilization's inevitable end has become a fixed part of the modern Western imagination. In a series of masterful biographical sketches, Herman examines the ideas of those who came to reject civilization as a doomed enterprise, including Arthur de Gobineau, the aristocratic founder of modern race theory; Friedrich Nietzsche, whose vitalist philosophy of irrationalism inclined a generation toward fascism and Nazism; and W.E.B. Du Bois, whose hostile view of the West would profoundly influence African-American thinking and multiculturalism." "Ultimately, Herman shows how two of the most important issues facing contemporary America - race and the fate of the environment - have been shaped and distorted by the assumptions of cultural pessimism. From the Aryan Nation and Afrocentrism to the Unabomber, the myth of Western decline continues to exercise a pervasive influence.
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August 31, 2007
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