The bestselling book revealing why Americans are so fearful, and why we fear the wrong things--now updated for the age of Trump
In the age of Trump, our society is defined by fear. Indeed, three out of four Americans say they feel more fearful today than they did only a couple decades ago. But are we living in exceptionally perilous times? In his bestselling book The Culture of Fear, sociologist Barry Glassner demonstrates that it is our perception of danger that has increased, not the actual level of risk. Glassner exposes the people and organizations that manipulate our perceptions and profit from our fears: politicians who win elections by heightening concerns about crime and drug use even as rates for both are declining; advocacy groups that raise money by exaggerating the prevalence of particular diseases; TV shows that create a new scare every week to garner ratings. Glassner spells out the prices we pay for social panics: the huge sums of money that go to waste on unnecessary programs and products as well as time and energy spent worrying about our fears.
All the while, we are distracted from the true threats, from climate change to worsening inequality. In this updated edition of a modern classic, Glassner examines the current panics over vaccination and "political correctness" and reveals why Donald Trump's fearmongering is so dangerously effective.
About the Author
Barry Glassner is a professor of sociology at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Glassner previously held posts at Syracuse University, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Southern California. He received his PhD from Washington University in St. Louis and is the author of The Gospel of Food. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
"Glassner has written a gutsy exposé of one of the most widespread delusions of our time: misplaced fear." —Los Angeles Times
"A sobering examination."
—Washington Post Book World
"[The Culture of Fear] ought to be part of every savvy media-watcher's toolbox."—American Prospect
"[Glassner is] a master at the art of dissecting research."
—New York Times
"We become what we behold. And what we behold in our public media is an America more terrifying than it actually is. Combining meticulous scholarship with a winning prose style, Barry Glassner shows how and why our media are scaring us to death. The book is a calming as it is serious, and offers a sound intellectual alternative to Prozac."
—Neil Postman, author of Amusing Ourselves to Death
"The Culture of Fear uses strong data and careful reasoning to calm everybody down."—Amitai Etzioni, author of The Limits of Privacy
"One of the most important sociological books you'll read this year, and certainly the most reassuring."