Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization

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Overview

“WHERE HAVE ALL THE GROWN-UPS GONE?” That is the provocative question Washington Times syndicated columnist Diana West asks as she looks at America today. Sadly, here’s what she finds: It’s difficult to tell the grown-ups from the children in a landscape littered with Baby Britneys, Moms Who Mosh, and Dads too “young” to call themselves “mister.” Surveying this sorry scene, West makes a much larger statement about our place in the world: “No wonder we can’t stop Islamic terrorism. We haven’t put away our toys!” As far as West is concerned,

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The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization

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Overview

“WHERE HAVE ALL THE GROWN-UPS GONE?” That is the provocative question Washington Times syndicated columnist Diana West asks as she looks at America today. Sadly, here’s what she finds: It’s difficult to tell the grown-ups from the children in a landscape littered with Baby Britneys, Moms Who Mosh, and Dads too “young” to call themselves “mister.” Surveying this sorry scene, West makes a much larger statement about our place in the world: “No wonder we can’t stop Islamic terrorism. We haven’t put away our toys!” As far as West is concerned, grown-ups are extinct. The disease that killed them emerged in the fifties, was incubated in the sixties, and became an epidemic in the seventies, leaving behind a nation of eternal adolescents who can’t say "no," a politically correct population that doesn’t know right from wrong. The result of such indecisiveness is, ultimately, the end of Western civilization as we know it. This is because the inability to take on the grown-up role of gatekeeper influences more than whether a sixteen-year-old should attend a Marilyn Manson concert. It also fosters the dithering cultural relativism that arose from the “culture wars” in the eighties and which now undermines our efforts in the “real” culture war of the 21st century—the war on terror. With insightful wit, Diana West takes readers on an odyssey through culture and politics, from the rise of rock ‘n’ roll to the rise of multiculturalism, from the loss of identity to the discovery of “diversity,” from the emasculation of the heroic ideal to the “PC”-ing of “Mary Poppins,” all the while building a compelling case against the childishness that is subverting the struggle against jihadist Islam in a mixed-up, post-9/11 world. With a new foreword for the paperback edition, "The Death of the Grown-up," is a bracing read from one of the most original voices on the American cultural scene.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"West writes with great flair. She has a columnist's talent for seizing arresting facts and locating the sort of outrageous incident guaranteed to make the blood boil."—The New York Times

"A serious work by an author highly engaged with the world in which she lives. West deserves to be heard."New York Post

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312340490
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/16/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 531,386
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

DIANA WEST is a syndicated columnist whose essays have appeared in The New Criterion, The Public Interest , the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post Magazine, The Washington Times and The Weekly Standard. She has also written fiction for The Atlantic Monthly.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix Preface to the 2008 Edition xi Preface xiii
1 Rise of the Teen Age 1
2 The Twist 19
3 Clash 48
4 Parents Who Need Parents 69
5 Sophisticated Babies 89
6 Boundaries 105
7 Identity 126
8 The Real Culture War 148
9 Men, Women ... or Children? Or: The Fate of the Western World 187 Epilogue 215 Endnotes 219 Index 239
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 21, 2009

    The Death of the Grownup Rings True

    I was interested in this book because of my work. I have been a public school teacher for 30 years. Diana West hits on the major problem that is causing our society to fall apart and eventually fail. She sites examples of the complete lack of maturity and responsibility that is plauging this country. Adults should act like they grew up not just grew older. Her writing is clear and concise and from where I sit so truthful it is frightening. Parents who spend as much time playing video games as their children do and don't realize the damage they are doing are suffering from a serious flaw. Fathers and mothers who make sure that their children make every team practice, every game, every dance or drama lesson but don't check their children's homework are not a rarity.These same parents make it to every game or recital but can't find the time to come to parent conferences or Back to School Night. Diana West has put into words exactly what my fellow teachers and I see daily. Every teacher, administrator and parent should read this book. Perhaps then the changes that need to happen will start.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2007

    From Bork to Bjork

    If you have found yourself muttering about all the social change over your lifetime 'that you only dimly comprehend' this book lays out a compelling case citing causes and effects. If you are a Conservative, you will be in deligthed with the results. If you are a Liberal, you will be delighted - then alarmed. Ms. West's polemic lapses carelessly into the snide which detracts from the seriousness of her argument - she's a better writer than that. But it is well worth reading as it reminds you of how we may have arrived at where we are - both socially and politically. What she's addressing is a confusing and disturbing place where Liberals and Conservatives could actually agree on th facts if they could just stop being Liberals and Conservatives for more than a minute. In this, Ms. West is the first offender. But, hey, it' her book and very interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2013

    A good amount of truth with a bit too much whining

    There is so much to LIKE about this book. As someone who comes in at the end of the "Gen X" era, I find a resonance with the basic premise. For some crazy reason, we have accentuated the teen years and have moved away from taking children into adulthood.

    What I found distracting was the constant feel of "whining" and "pining" for the way things were. West finally gets us to some possible solutions, but I found the whining to be a bit shrill at times.

    It reminded me of times when I was growing up listening to my parents talk with old friends about the "good ol' days," complaining about my generation, all while I was sitting there with them. There are parts of West's book I thought, "Dear God, I'm becoming my parents!"

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  • Posted November 24, 2011

    recommended for thoughtful people

    This is not a childrens book. It is an essay on the state of society today, now that teenagers have taken over leadership and direction. It follows some of the same comments made by the historian Lewis Mumford in his classic text "The Myth of the Machine" published 40 years ago.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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