The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things (Basic Books)
The bestselling book revealing why Americans are so fearful, and why we fear the wrong things--now updated for the age of Trump.
In the age of Trump, our society is defined by fear. Indeed, three out of four Americans say they feel more fearful today than they did only a couple decades ago. But are we living in exceptionally perilous times? In his bestselling book The Culture of Fear, sociologist Barry Glassner demonstrates that it is our perception of danger that has increased, not the actual level of risk. Glassner exposes the people and organizations that manipulate our perceptions and profit from our fears: politicians who win elections by heightening concerns about crime and drug use even as rates for both are declining; advocacy groups that raise money by exaggerating the prevalence of particular diseases; TV shows that create a new scare every week to garner ratings. Glassner spells out the prices we pay for social panics: the huge sums of money that go to waste on unnecessary programs and products as well as time and energy spent worrying about our fears.
All the while, we are distracted from the true threats, from climate change to worsening inequality. In this updated edition of a modern classic, Glassner examines the current panics over vaccination and "political correctness" and reveals why Donald Trump's fearmongering is so dangerously effective.
The author of seven books on contemporary social issues, sociologist Barry Glassner’s book, The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things (Basic Books), is a national bestseller that was named a “Best Book of the Year” by Knight-Ridder newspapers and by the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Glassner has published research studies in The American Sociological Review, American Journal of Psychiatry, and other leading journals in the social sciences. His articles and commentaries have appeared in newspapers including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Chronicle of Higher Education. Featured prominently in Michael Moore’s Academy Award winning documentary, “Bowling for Columbine,” Glassner has appeared on numerous television programs, including “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Hardball,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” and various news programs on CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC, and on radio shows including National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” “Fresh Air,” “Talk of the Nation,” and “Marketplace,” and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Ideas” program. Formerly a journalist and an editor for ABC radio news, Glassner went on to receive his doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis and to become chair of the sociology departments at Syracuse University, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Southern California, where he subsequently served for five years as Executive Vice Provost before being appointed President of Lewis & Clark College, where he is a Professor of Sociology. He lives in Los Angeles.