Books That Inspire 2004

The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America
Daniel Boorstin

I found The Image when I was a graduate student in the 1980s. This was a time - during the Reagan presidency - of widespread fascination with the “society of the spectacle.” How astonishing to read a book, written 25 years earlier, that predicted it all! Boorstin identified something at the root of American culture, and saw how it would unfold. Yet this radical analysis is offered in the service of a conservative vision. For me The Image thus poses an exciting intellectual challenge: adopting its remarkably useful descriptive concepts must not foreclose engaging its normative point of view.
Zev Trachtenberg
Associate Professor