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Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2007

    An Academically deep understanding of the American Character.

    There is much for all Americans to learn from this book, which takes its rightful place along side other classic studies of the American character, the most famous of which, 'Democracy in America' 'Alesis de Tocqueville, 1835' they honor in the book's title. As highly as I rate this book, and I do believe every thoughtful American 'including those who are 'new' Americans should read this book', I was disappointed in the author's recommendations for curing our national malaise. de Tocqueville's phrase, 'Habits of the Heart', might loosely be translated as 'ties that bind', referring to those mores and practices common to a people that make a society more than just the sum of its individuals and promote a spirit of concern in each that speaks to the common good of all. The authors suggest, as antidotes for our national malaise, institutional changes engineered by a professional elite that would reinvigorate some of our older virtues that made life worth living and contributed to a shared feeling of a common good. If history can teach us anything, it is that the past is never returned to. Even more than this, de Tocqueville¿s phrase, ¿Habits of the Heart¿, which at first may seem an unusual way to refer to mores and common practices a society shares, is really the insight that those things that bind individuals together as a people and a society, must come from the heart. If we are to find a cure for our national malaise, it must come from the people, from the spirit of idealism that has always been part of the American character.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 21, 2012

    Must read book for today's issues!

    American individualism runs back to the beginning of our country, but so does a sense of the common good. Bellah shows us our heritage, and the historical traditions which exist to fix what ails us today. It is a book we NEED to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

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