The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things / Edition 1

The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things / Edition 1

4.3 23
by Barry Glassner

ISBN-10: 0465014909

ISBN-13: 9780465014903

Pub. Date: 03/28/2000

Publisher: Basic Books

There has never been another era in modern history, even during wartime or the Great Depression, when so many people have feared so much. Three out of four Americans say they feel more fearful today then they did twenty years ago. The Culture of Fear describes the high costs of living in a fear-ridden environment where realism has become rarer than doors

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There has never been another era in modern history, even during wartime or the Great Depression, when so many people have feared so much. Three out of four Americans say they feel more fearful today then they did twenty years ago. The Culture of Fear describes the high costs of living in a fear-ridden environment where realism has become rarer than doors without deadbolts.Why do we have so many fears these days? Are we living in exceptionally dangerous times? To watch the news, you’d certainly think so, but Glassner demonstrates that it is our perception of danger that has increased, not the actual level of risk. The Culture of Fear is an expose of the people and organizations that manipulate our perceptions and profit from our fears: politicians who win elections by heightening concerns about crime and drug use even as rates for both are declining; advocacy groups that raise money by exaggerating the prevalence of particular diseases; TV newsmagazines that monger a new scare every week to garner ratings.Glassner spells out the prices we pay for social panics: the huge sums of money that go to waste on unnecessary programs and products as well as time and energy spent worrying about our fears.

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Product Details

Basic Books
Publication date:
Art of Mentoring Series
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
5.41(w) x 7.79(h) x 0.83(d)
1560L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Americans Fear the Wrong Things
1Dubious Dangers on Roadways and Campuses: How Fears Are Sold1
2Crime in the News: Tall Tales and Overstated Statistics21
3Youth at Risk: Faulty Diagnoses and Callous Cures51
4Monster Moms: On the Art of Misdirection85
5Black Men: How to Perpetuate Prejudice Without Really Trying107
6"Smack Is Back": When Presidents and the Press Collude, the Scares Never Stop129
7Metaphoric Illnesses: How Not to Criticize the Establishment151
8Plane Wrecks: Small Danger, Big Scare181
9Final Thoughts: The Martians Aren't Coming203

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Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things: Crime, Drugs, Minorities, Teen Moms, Killer Kids, Mutant Microbes, Plane Crashes, Road 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Angela2932ND More than 1 year ago
This book is excellent for helping you see how marketing can manipulate you in many ways, ultimately increasing profits at your expense. You won't view the nightly news the same way after reading this. Although the book is repetitive in its content, the message it communicates is powerful: we tend to see the messages of the media as factual, when they are very much driven by creating profit for their networks and advertisers. The goal is a financial incentive, but there is a side-effect on us emotionally, (some of which is intentional) that can dramatically affect the way we experience our lives. (The affect is partly intentional, because wants we feel fear, we are also motivated to reduce that fear, often by buying the products promoted, or by tuning into the same stations/news for more information in an attempt to feel more in control of our worlds by "informing" ourselves.) No wonder mental health experts see a positive correlation between hours spent in watching news and poor mental health measures!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a quick and occassionally astonishing read discussing how the media distorts reality, causing not only needless public fear but also distraction from what we should honestly be worrying about. I agree with the author's message but feel that it was eventually made boring and meaningless because of the repitition between examples. I also found myself suspicious at what kind of a spin Glassner might be putting into his version of the truth, but I think that may just mean that he did his job. Rather than reading the book straight through, I would recommend reading the Intro, picking a few chapters that interest you, and end with the conclusion. It was just too numbers-laden and repetitive to hold my interest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book... I'm always recommending this to other people, because it's just that good...
Guest More than 1 year ago
The ¿Culture of Fear¿ pries into the surface of why exactly people fear simple things that will hardly, if ever, affect them. The answer is not as easy as it seems. It is a well thought up scheme implemented by many different groups of people. Barry Glassner does an excellent job expressing his thoughts on the certain scares his book focuses on. It uses many actual examples and explains some so-called myths about the American affairs now-a-days. It is a great book to read and shows that if things stay the same our lives will become even more occupied with fears.
Guest More than 1 year ago
People worry too much... This book is awesome...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Glassner did a fantastic job making the media look like liars and a bunch of overreactors. The book disects why Americans are afraid of the wrong things, and how we become this afraid. I personally never watch the t.v, so this book didnt make that much sense to me. It seemed to me that the author rambled on about way too many subjects at once. He gets his point across though, that Americans are a culture of fear, accelerated by the media. He makes references to scientific research on teen homicide, school shootings, and rape victims. This book was defeintly a head full of statistics, but was very well written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Glassner has writtten a great expose about our delusional and paranoiac media system that perpetuates illusions, delusions, and partial truth, placing us in a constant imbroglio, and rendering our society into a bewildered, scared, narcissitic, paranoid, homophobic, split/schizophrenic, and brainwashed society. Mr Glassner will provide you in his book with truthful material that will encourage the average person to cogitate, instead of simply absorb what the venomous media imbues in our minds. Media 101 teaches that fear works and gets ratings. 'instill fear in them and they shall follow.' The airwaves belong to the public and we should claim it back. We should contact our FCC and demand unbiased, honest, and decent programming. Fear is the driving force and the major psychological component of terror. Fear incapacitates people and renders them impotent. Fear is conducive to regressive behaviors by responsible adults. Fears justifies our willingness to relinquish our most intimate and sacred rights in order to feel safe. Fear is primal. It brings out the primitive and reptilian part of our humanity. It is tragic that the media outlets dictate our lives, educate our children, and shape our daily opinions. We are treated as frightened, dependent, and ignorant children that will follow their parents anywhere to survive. Walter Lippmann (a media Guru) has called us (the people) the perfect name 'the bewildered herd.' Or are we? The culture of fear makes a great reading that would help us dispel the myth behind our glamorous media !
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an interesting analysis of the sociological epidemic of fear in our society. With Kids gunning down each other in highschool, snipers run ramped, children being abducted, and nutty terrorist running around, it's good timing for this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Culture of Fear maintains a simple thesis: external stimulus engenders us with fear. The books tells us not only why were are obessessed with fear, but what we can do about it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, the subject matter of the book had the potential to make the book compelling and a very good read, without the author having to do much. The idea that Americans have no idea what¿s going on around them because politicians and the media are corrupt enough and smart enough to confuse a whole society into a state of panic is a forceful premise. The book itself, however, proved to be everything but. Clearly, Barry Glassner thought he didn¿t have to do much, either, and capitalized on this a little too much by doing virtually nothing with it. It is an over listing of statistics, and name droppings. The author barely had to write anything at all. I don¿t even want to call him an author. After reading this book I am tempted to call him an organizer. The book is facts, statistics, and quotes from news stories mixed in with important people¿s names and titles, but no actual writing. The majority of writing that Glassner could call his own revolved around the overuse of the words ¿the¿ and ¿and.¿ Instead of using quotes the proper way they should be used, he abuses the power. The whole book is snippets of other people¿s quotes strung together by numbers and facts that are in the end wrong. The repetitiveness is unparalleled by any other book I¿ve ever read. Every chapter was the same, no matter the topic. After reading this book I am only truly afraid of one thing. If I recommend this book to anyone, I am afraid they will never speak to me again for lack of substance in reading material.