American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of by Bernard-Henri Lévy

By Bernard-Henri Lévy

What does it suggest to be an American, and what can the USA be this present day? to respond to those questions, celebrated thinker and journalist Bernard-Henri Lévy spent a yr touring during the nation within the footsteps of one other nice Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, whose Democracy in the USA is still the main influential booklet ever written approximately our state.

The result's American Vertigo, a desirable, totally clean examine a rustic we occasionally basically imagine we all know. From Rikers Island to Chicago mega-churches, from Muslim groups in Detroit to an Amish enclave in Iowa, Lévy investigates concerns on the center of our democracy: the particular nature of yankee patriotism, the coexistence of freedom and faith (including the faith of baseball), the criminal procedure, the “return of ideology” and the wellbeing and fitness of our political associations, and masses extra. He revisits and updates Tocqueville’s most vital ideals, resembling the hazards posed through “the tyranny of the majority,” explores what Europe and the USA need to research from one another, and translates what he sees with a novelist’s eye and a philosopher’s intensity.

Through strong interview-based pictures around the spectrum of the yankee humans, from felony guards to priests, from Norman Mailer to Barack Obama, from Sharon Stone to Richard Holbrooke, Lévy fills his ebook with a tapestry of yankee voices–some clever, a few surprising. either the grandeur and the hellish dimensions of yankee lifestyles are unflinchingly explored. and massive subject matters emerge all through, from the an important offerings the United States faces this present day to the underlying fact that, not like the “Old World,” the United States is still the success of the world’s wish to worship, earn, and reside as one wishes–a position, regardless of all, the place inclusion is still not only a fantastic yet an exact practice.

At a time whilst american citizens are frightened approximately how the area perceives them and, certainly, prepared to make feel of themselves, a super and sympathetic international observer has arrived to assist us commence a brand new dialog concerning the which means of the USA.

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12 On the other hand, and to provide some balance to this discussion, a somewhat different trend is found in citizen perceptions of whether the Bush administration went too far in restricting people’s civil liberties in order to fight terrorism. In June 2002 only 11 percent expressed this opinion (according to Gallup data), while in May of 2006 41 percent expressed this opinion. We see a similar willingness to restrict civil liberties in light of the terrorist threat in the case of the United Kingdom.

Existing studies provide empirical support for the argument that crises cause individuals to focus on and project charisma and leadership qualities onto selected leaders. If we look at the case of Latin America, we find that the rise of populist and charismatic political leaders often coincides with conditions of crisis (Willner 1984). For example, Juan Perón in Argentina, Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, and Alberto Fujimori in Peru all rose to power during times of national crisis (Madsen and Snow 1991; Roberts 1995; Weyland 2003).

Coping with Crisis and Threat In general, large-scale collective crises evoke a range of emotions. By highlighting an individual’s lack of control over environmental conditions, such crises tend to arouse feelings of concern and distress. Central to these feelings is a cognitively based and emotionally laden perception of a loss of control and a sense of hopelessness. 5 Such crises tend also to induce worry and fear with respect to the harm that might be (or continues to be) inflicted on an individual or a group’s financial, physical, and / or psychological well-being.

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