Twilight of American Sanity: A Psychiatrist Analyzes the Age of Trump

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Twilight of American Sanity aims to explore what, from a meta-perspective, looks like the utterly irrational behavior of the Western world broadly and America specifically. And while you might be forgiven, upon seeing the keywords “psychiatrist” and “Trump” in the subtitle, for thinking this book is about Trump’s mental state, this book is only peripherally about Trump. And, as it establishes early on, it has no interest in diagnosing or analyzing his ostensible mental pathologies. (Astutely, the author asserts that “[l]umping [Trump] with the mentally ill stigmatizes them more than it embarrasses him.”)

Rather, author Allen Frances examines how American society continues to make what seem like pathologically poor decisions around the environment, social equity, and, yes, the president, among others. Frances devotes brief sections to debunking quite a few irrational arguments around health care, gun control, contraception, racism, misogyny, and corporate ethics. He then goes on to analyze the psychological factors that motivate and perpetuate said ideas. His analysis of both problematic social behavior and its motivating factors is astute, but the organization of the book’s overarching narrative is such that much of what is said initially becomes redundant when it’s repeated in a slightly different context later in the narrative.

Overall, this is a smart and timely, if somewhat repetitive, discussion of our contemporary social and political moment.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher William Morrow
Publish Date 2017-Sep-05
ISBN 9780062394507 Buy this Book
Issue December 2017
Category Current Events & Politics


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