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The Inarticulate Society: Eloquence and Culture in America

The Inarticulate Society: Eloquence and Culture in America

by Thomas Shachtman, Tom Shachtman

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Shachtman's (Skyscraper Dreams) latest seems to start out as an intriguing study of the fate of conversation and Socratic dialogue in America. But the study of such an elusive topic would require a great deal of supposition, and apparently Shachtman prefers to deal with facts. After reviewing studies on how we learn to speak, standard English and on the culpability of schools in declining literacy, he makes it clear that his primary interest is political discourse. With television news more closely approximating entertainment and election campaigns approximating advertising, Shachtman worries that Americans are in danger of losing their voice in the democracy-and, what's worse-not really knowing they've lost it. Little of this will seem new: informed readers are aware of changes in network news coverage; of the low intellectual caliber of talk shows; of the decline in literacy in schools; and of the spin-doctoring and sound-biting of political communication. Shachtman offers suggestions for increasing general articulateness (and, in doing so, raising the level of discourse), but most are commonsensical, and some are nave: does anyone really believe that ``Oprah Winfrey might hire a vocabularist to cook up some delectable words for her talk show''? Probably not. The book will confirm readers' worst suspicions, but it gives them little new to think about. (July)

Product Details

Free Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.51(h) x 1.02(d)

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