Why America's Top Pundits Are Wrong: Anthropologists Talk Back

Why America's Top Pundits Are Wrong: Anthropologists Talk Back

Why America's Top Pundits Are Wrong: Anthropologists Talk Back

Why America's Top Pundits Are Wrong: Anthropologists Talk Back


In this fresh, literate, and biting critique of current thinking on some of today's most important and controversial topics, leading anthropologists take on some of America's top pundits.

This absorbing collection of essays subjects such popular commentators as Thomas Friedman, Samuel Huntington, Robert Kaplan, and Dinesh D'Souza to cold, hard scrutiny and finds that their writing is often misleadingly simplistic, culturally ill-informed, and politically dangerous. Mixing critical reflection with insights from their own fieldwork, twelve distinguished anthropologists respond by offering fresh perspectives on globalization, ethnic violence, social justice, and the biological roots of behavior. They take on such topics as the collapse of Yugoslavia, the consumer practices of the American poor, American foreign policy in the Balkans, and contemporary debates over race, welfare, and violence against women. In the clear, vigorous prose of the pundits themselves, these contributors reveal the hollowness of what often passes as prevailing wisdom and passionately demonstrate the need for a humanistically complex and democratic understanding of the contemporary world.

Available: November 2004

Pub Date: January 2005


This book confronts some of the most controversial and divisive issues of the day. Why does poverty persist in the United States? Do the poor, through laziness or lack of initiative, somehow deserve their plight? Why do African Americans continue to get left behind in the American race for success? Are feminists right about violence against women in our society? How much of our behavior is genetically programmed? Why do some countries do better than others in the global economy? Why has the U.S. military found itself fighting Muslims so much of late? Will globalization and U.S. intervention abroad create a more peaceful or a more polarized world? Should the United States have intervened in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, or is that part of the world doomed to bloody and irremediable ancient hatreds?

In Congress, in coffee shops, in classrooms, in dorm rooms, on talk . . .

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