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The Middle Mind

Why Americans Don't Think for Themselves

Curtis White


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Acclaimed social critic Curtis White describes an all-encompassing and little-noticed force taking over our culture and our lives that he calls the Middle Mind: the current failure of the American imagination in the media, politics, education, art, technology, and religion. Irreverent, provocative, and far-reaching, White presents a clear vision of this dangerous mindset that threatens America's intellectual and cultural freedoms, concluding with an imperative to reawaken and unleash the once powerful American imagination.

The Middle Mind is pragmatic, plainspoken, populist, contemptuous of the Right's narrowness, and incredulous before the Left's convolutions. It wants to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and has bought an SUV with the intent of visiting it. It even understands in some indistinct way how that very SUV spells the Arctic's doom.

Praise For The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don't Think for Themselves

“A splendidly cranky academic.” — Molly Ivins

“The Middle Mind is a strong, knowledgeable, entertaining (and imaginative!) argument” — John Barth

“Cogent, acute, beautiful, merciless, and true.” — David Foster Wallace, author of Infinite Jest

“Curt White gives name to an ugly soul-killer already in our midst.” — Greg Palast, NYTimes bestselling author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

“A sharp, erudite and witty text that... could help set our country on a path to a saner future.” — John de Graaf, co-author of Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic

“The trouble with “Middle Mind” is that it neutralizes genuinely useful insights that don’t look like anything instantly recognizable.” — Andrei Codrescu, author of The Disappearance of the Outside

“The most inspiringly wicked social critic of the moment. “ — Elle

“A serious effort to understand a serious problem and should find a prominent place in every American library.” — Library Journal

“Hot diatribe.” — Rolling Stone

HarperOne, 9780060730598, 224pp.

Publication Date: October 5, 2004

About the Author

Curtis White is the author of the novels Memories of My Father Watching TV and Requiem. A widely acclaimed essayist, his work appears regularly in Context and Harper's. He is an English professor at Illinois State University and the current president of the Center for Book Culture/Dalkey Archive Press