The State of the American Mind

The State of the American Mind

16 Leading Critics on the New Anti-intellectualism

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Chicago Distribution Center
In 1987, Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind was published; a wildly popular book that drew attention to the shift in American culture away from the tenants that made America—and Americans—unique. Bloom focused on a breakdown in the American curriculum, but many sensed that the issue affected more than education. The very essence of what it meant to be an American was disappearing.

That was over twenty years ago. Since then, the United States has experienced unprecedented wealth, more youth enrolling in higher education than ever before, and technology advancements far beyond what many in the 1980s dreamed possible. And yet, the state of the American mind seems to have deteriorated further. Benjamin Franklin’s “self-made man” has become a man dependent on the state. Independence has turned into self-absorption. Liberty has been curtailed in the defense of multiculturalism.

In order to fully grasp the underpinnings of this shift away from the self-reliant, well-informed American, editors Mark Bauerlein and Adam Bellow have brought together a group of cultural and educational experts to discuss the root causes of the decline of the American mind. The writers of these fifteen original essays include E. D. Hirsch, Nicholas Eberstadt, and Dennis Prager, as well as Daniel Dreisbach, Gerald Graff, Richard Arum, Robert Whitaker, David T. Z. Mindich, Maggie Jackson, Jean Twenge, Jonathan Kay, Ilya Somin, Steve Wasserman, Greg Lukianoff, and R. R. Reno. Their essays are compiled into three main categories:

· States of Mind: Indicators of Intellectual and Cognitive Decline
These essays broach specific mental deficiencies among the population, including lagging cultural IQ, low Biblical literacy, poor writing skills, and over-medication.
· Personal and Cognitive Habits/Interests
These essays turn to specific mental behaviors and interests, including avoidance of the news, short attention spans, narcissism, and conspiracy obsessions.
· National Consequences
These essays examine broader trends affecting populations and institutions, including rates of entitlement claims, voting habits, and a low-performing higher education system.

The State of the American Mind is both an assessment of our current state as well as a warning, foretelling what we may yet become. For anyone interested in the intellectual fate of America,The State of the American Mind offers an accessible and critical look at life in America and how our collective mind is faring.

Book News
After pondering the consequences of the fracturing of the American mind, Bauerlein and Bellow gathered together 15 contributors that bear on this subject—leading voices in public and professions spheres with long experience studying American culture and society. Each contributor selected an area of concern and collected numerical data, personal observations, and other concrete evidence of predominant attitudes and behaviors into a summary description. Fifteen chapters are divided into three parts: states of mind: indicators of intellectual and cognitive decline; personal and cognitive habits/interests; national consequences. Chapters are: the troubling trend of cultural IQ; biblical literacy matters; why Johnny and Joanie can’t write, revisited; college graduates; anatomy of an epidemic; a wired nation tunes out the news; catching our eye; the rise of the self and the decline of intellectual and civic interest; has internet-fueled conspiracy-mongering crested?; dependency in America; political ignorance in America; in defense of difficulty; we live in the age of feelings; how colleges create the “expectation of confirmation”; the new antinomian attitude. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: West Conshohocken, PA :, Templeton Press,, [2015]
ISBN: 9781599474588
Characteristics: xvii, 260 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Nov 04, 2015

The word is tenets, not tenants.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SMCL

To Top