by Betsy Hartmann
Seven Stories Press
Has apocalyptic thinking contributed to some of our nation's biggest problems--inequality, permanent war, and the despoiling of our natural resources? From the Puritans to the present, historian and public policy advocate Betsy Hartmann sheds light on a pervasive but--until now--invisible theme shaping the American mindset: apocalyptic thinking, or the belief that the end of the world is nigh. Hartmann makes a compelling case that apocalyptic fears are deeply intertwined with the American ethos, to our detriment. In The America Syndrome, she seeks to reclaim human agency and, in so doing, revise the national narrative. By changing the way we think, we just might change the world.
The 'America First' stance espoused by Donald Trump appears as little more than a pastiche of crowd-pleasing campaign tropes, but in fact draws on themes long embedded in American political thought. To guide us through this rich and momentous history, stretching from the Pilgrims' landing in Plymouth to the onset of climate change, there is no better account than Betsy Hartmann's The America Syndrome. -- Michael Klare, author of The Race for What's Left
Betsy Hartmann has written a compelling tragedy of the American psyche that is a fitting riposte to Trumpery. It's a tragedy about a country that lacks self-awareness, that thinks itself special when it is 'not so special after all.' Militarists and apocalyptic environmentalists alike are caught up in this quagmire of exceptionalism, this tragedy of failed imperialism. Cut the hubris, America; it is your undoing. --Fred Pearce, environment consultant, New Scientist magazine
About the Author:
Writer, educator, and women's rights advocate Betsy Hartmann's books and appearances have had an impact on national debates on population control, environmentalism, and national security. Now in its third edition, Hartmann's feminist classic, Reproductive Rights and Wrongs: The Global Politics of Population Control, tackles the powerful myth of overpopulation and its negative consequences for women's reproductive health and rights. She is the co-author of A Quiet Violence: View from a Bangladesh Village and co-editor of the anthology Making Threats: Biofears and Environmental Anxieties. Her political thrillers, The Truth About Fire and Deadly Election, explore the threat the Far Right poses to American democracy. Hartmann is professor emerita of Development Studies and senior policy analyst of the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College. She lives in western Massachusetts.