Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jeff Sharlet's The Family

Reviewed here by yours truly in the latest BookForum. And as you'll read in the review itself, I'm not entirely convinced that soul-searching is the answer to this sort of stealth political fundamentalism.

See also Scott McLemee's take on François Cusset's French Theory:

The guiding question in Cusset’s book is, How did it come to pass that a group of French intellectuals who were seldom closely affiliated, pursued radically incompatible lines of thought, and were often quite passé at home turned by the mid-1980s into hotly coveted exports for the American intellectual market? Indeed, these thinkers were transformed into something like the various models of a single brand—repackaged, cross-promoted, and vended with the steep discounts made possible through economies of scale.

1 comment:

Jeff Sharlet said...

Hey, Richard. Thanks for the review. Much appreciated. For what it's worth, I don't think soul searching is the answer, either. I've put my bets on history and investigative journalism -- hence the 450 page book. I think I may have done a bad job with the salvation / deliverance metaphor at the end. "Deliverance" doesn't refer to soul searching, but rather, as in prophetic Judaism and in the black church, one's active role in one's own worldly liberation. I think history -- a correct diagnosis of one's condition, present and past -- is always the first, most important, and to me most interesting step. I've lots of respect for those who engage in soul searching, but that's not my calling. I prefer digging through archives.

Just a polite response. I really do appreciate the review, tremendously. Thank you for giving the book serious and fair consideration.