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The Death of Character: On the Moral Education of America's Children [Paperback]

By James Davison Hunter (Author)
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Item description for The Death of Character: On the Moral Education of America's Children by James Davison Hunter...

Overview
A wide-ranging historical, sociological, and cultural inquiry into the moral life and moral education of America's young people reflects on the disintegrating moral and social conditions that affect character and assesses the impact of a new cultural narcissism on children. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.

Publishers Description
James Hunter has a talent for writing important books... with The Death of Character he has done it again, wrote Wilfred M. McClay of University of Tennessee. The Death of Character is a broad historical, sociological, and cultural inquiry into the moral life and moral education of young Americans based upon a huge empirical study of the children themselves. The children's thoughts and concerns - expressed here in their own words - shed a whole new light on what we can expect from moral education. Targeting new theories of education and the prominence of psychology over moral instruction, Hunter analyzes the making of a new cultural narcissism.

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Item Specifications...


Studio: Basic Books
Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.34" Width: 5.74" Height: 0.83"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2001
Publisher   Basic Books
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0465031773  
ISBN13  9780465031771  


Availability  129 units.
Availability accurate as of Jan 24, 2017 09:04.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About James Davison Hunter


Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! James Davison Hunter is professor of sociology and religious studies at the University of Virginia and is the author of "American Evangelicalism: Conservative Religion and the Quandary of Modernity. Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation" received the 1988 Distinguished Book Award of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.


James Davison Hunter currently resides in the state of Virginia. James Davison Hunter was born in 1955.

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Death of Character: On the Moral Education of America's Children?

Is a credible read  May 27, 2005
Hunter blames the problems in modern society on a lack of moral education, which he says results from multinational capitalism, pluralism, social mobility, contemporary media, popular culture, and the changing nature of relationships in America. The scope of this book is broad but worthwhile.
 
Thoughful, clear, and enjoyable.  Mar 14, 2005
While I did not agree with all of Hunter's arguments, I highly reccommend this book. Hunter provides a thoughtful examination of the history of moral education and how contemporary character education, although well-intentioned, does little to improve the morality of youth. Character, as defined by Aristotle, requires not only knowing the good but being able to reason about it. This wisdom, or what Aristotle called phronesis, is something that is overlooked in our modern climate of fast, easy, and scientifically "proven" methods. Hunter makes a profound argument as to how both character education and psychological approaches perpetuate, rather than ameliorate the problem of thin and narrow moral understandings. However, disagree with Hunter's sentiment that the problem is unsolvable (as is clearly suggested by his title). ...but that is another issue altogether. Don't get me started!
 
Thoughful, clear, and enjoyable.  Feb 23, 2005
While I did not agree with all of Hunter's arguments, I highly reccommend this book. Hunter provides a thoughtful examination of the history of moral education and how contemporary character education, although well-intentioned, does little to improve the morality of youth. Character, as defined by Aristotle, requires not only knowing the good but being able to reason about it. This wisdom, or what Aristotle called phronesis, is something that is overlooked in our modern climate of fast, easy, and scientifically "proven" methods. Hunter makes a profound argument as to how both character education and psychological approaches perpetuate, rather than ameliorate the problem of thin and narrow moral understandings. However, disagree with Hunter's sentiment that the problem is unsolvable (as is clearly suggested by his title). ...but that is another issue altogether. Don't get me started!
 
Glad it's over  May 23, 2003
Most of Hunter's writing, with it's cumbersome, lengthy sentences full of sociological jargon, is hard to read, and the tiny type (10 point?) doesn't help. The section on the history of the techniques used for the moral education of our children, from the 18th century forward, is more straightforward. In the U.S., we started with commonly-held morals based on biblical commands and progressed to each of us making up his own individual set of values. The author is pessimistic about things getting any better. Don't look for solutions to the problems he enumerates. Rather, he sees us sliding down a slippery slope of disintegrating morals into eventual chaos. Honestly, if I'd known what the book would be like, I wouldn't have bought it. Having bought it, if someone had told me what it would be like, I wouldn't have read it. On the other hand, it was fascinating to see, from the history he details, just how we got from there to here.
 
Interesting; more about problems than solutions; tough read  Jul 8, 2002
Author James Davison Hunter is a very smart man who does a great job of tracing the changes in moral and social temperament over the years to show how weakened values and ideals have made their way into today's youth. "The Death of Character" has lots of important things to say about the "transformation of moral education" (the title of the book's largest part), and though Mr. Hunter's views are erudite, his writing is really hard to absorb. I'd be inclined to rate this more highly were it not for the fact that it took me forever to read. This book would be great as a university text.

Much of what is explained about how our children are turning out revolves around three strategies for moral education: psychological, neoclassical, and communitarian. I learned quite a bit reading about these approaches and their influence on not only "why Johnny can't read," but more importantly, "why Johnny lacks character." There's some good stuff to contemplate, and I found myself comparing my formative educational years with those of today's school kids. Yep, big difference. What Mr. Hunter has to say about the state of our youngsters must certainly be frustrating to the typical parent; however, there's not much in this book that addresses what to do about it. Disappointing in that regard.

Each page of "The Death of Character" is chock full of well-referenced, expository writing: full of discussion, argument and expanded viewpoints. Although truly interested in grasping all that Mr. Hunter had to convey, I found myself getting bogged down amidst cumbersome wording within too many long sentences that had me reading them over and over again to zero in on the point. My mind wandered frequently. The more than sixty(!) pages of notes were occasionally intimidating (some notes cover multiple pages of even tinier type).

Overall, the importance of the topics covered were outweighed by the low "readability factor." I'd have to tackle this book again to get out of it what I'd expected.

 

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