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For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today (Vintage) [Paperback]

By Jedediah Purdy (Author)
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Item description for For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today (Vintage) by Jedediah Purdy...

Arguing for renewed attention to "common things", Purdy gives a ringing and heartfelt plea for commitment to--and faith in--American civic and political life. This paper edition includes a new Afterword.

Publishers Description
Jedediah Purdy calls For Common Things his " letter of love for the world's possibilities." Indeed, these pages--which have already garnered a flurry of attention among readers and in the media--constitute a passionate and persuasive testament to the value of political, social, and community reengagement. Drawing on a wide range of literary and cultural influences--from the writings of Montaigne and Thoreau to the recent popularity of empty entertainment and breathless chroniclers of the technological age--Purdy raises potent questions about our stewardship of civic values.
Most important, Purdy offers us an engaging, honest, and bracing reminder of what is crucial to the healing and betterment of society, and impels us to consider all that we hold in common.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Vintage
Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.07" Width: 5.26" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 12, 2000
Publisher   Vintage
ISBN  0375706917  
ISBN13  9780375706912  

Availability  2 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 06:10.
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More About Jedediah Purdy

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! A Harvard graduate who was home schooled in rural West Virginia until he was fourteen, Jedediah Purdy currently studies law, environment, and social values at Yale.

Jedediah Purdy was born in 1974 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Duke University.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 21st Century
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Government > Civics
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Modern
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General
7Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology

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Reviews - What do customers think about For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today (Vintage)?

Interesting  Jul 5, 2006
The ideas in this book are very interesting and give words to the subconscious and formerly unspoken idea of social apathy - in the form of Purdy's ironists. These observations, while not original, are quite well discussed. Purdy is an exemplary expository writer, discussing various very complicated ideas, and addressing in words the emotional undertone of American society. My only criticism is that it is very apparent that Purdy grew up in a small town, in a pastoral farm setting in West Virginia, and was home-schooled. Detachment from the "normal" American experience gives him an outsider's perspective; while I can appreciate his passion against strip-mining for coal in West-Virginia, I can't related. He misses the very relevant reality of American life. Furthermore, I find something ironic in an ivy-league lawyer writing about the American experience of social apathy when his idyllic rearing experience was far removed from the average American's more provincial or urban upbringing. Rather, Purdy comes across as somewhat of an ivy-league elitist that is pedantic in his opinions and naive in his view (but, I mean that in a good way). Understand, that to criticize this book is my highest form of flattery. I am not at all bashing Purdy. I wholly recommend reading this book and encourage more of this form of expression.
The idea of personal responsibility  Apr 28, 2006
It is misguided to focus on the academic and family history of Jedediah Purdy when reviewing this book. It is also wrong to assign him any particular political position, as this book does not focus on partisan issues, but is rather a call to embrace what is common and good in all people, and can be thus interpreted from both liberal and conservative viewpoints. I found that the most important and relevant idea I took away from this book was Mr. Purdy's call to personal responsibility in your actions towards yourself, towards your neighbors and towards humanity as a whole. Most of the book focuses on how we as individuals and as a nation have become irresponsible and disillusioned, and discusses the reasons why this has happened. The center of his thought though, is personal responsibility. He asserts that by living responsibly, we become aware of the consequences of our actions, and will accordingly try to live in a way that does more good than harm to ourselves and our communities. Although his writing has many flaws, I thought that this idea was so interesting and so overlooked by other thinkers, that I would recommend this book to anyone.
Something to think about  Sep 14, 2004
A good look at the state of our communities and how the deterioration of the traditional community has led to a lack of responsibility when it comes to the use of our natural resources. An important book. It opened me up to some new ideas about what we're doing.
Interesting, but empty.  Jan 31, 2004
When I first saw this book, I was intriqued by the very straightforward writing of the author, and immediately related to his desire to see a simpler world that was not unnecessarily complicated by greed and insincerity. Seeing as this book was published right as the dot-com boom was at its crest, the digiterati of silicon valley (and elsewhere) seemed an easy target. I admit that I took a more than a little pleasure in seeing the fall of many of the dot-commers.

However, the book quickly languished in identifying the problems of modern society without giving any concrete alternatives to the society against which it railed. Jedediah seems to take great pains in telling us about his early life in West Virginia, but does nothing to enable us to translate his earlier experiences into modern society. In the end, this comes painfully close to becoming a "Things were better back in the good-old days" type of book.

Overall, I was disappointed, but not surprised. If all of the worlds ills could be dispelled just by writing about them, things would be much easier.

no concrete solutions  Oct 20, 2003
Purdy's book best represents the decline of the American left. Throughout Purdy's book, he never mentions any concrete solutions to America's problems. Instead we just get a diatribe against urbanity and materialism. Purdy's obsession with culture can be seen in American universities that constantly mentoned cultural differeance but never economic or insitutional solutions to America's problems.

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