Book Club: "Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire" (by Kurt Andersen)

photo"The NYC Political Forum"

For this book club meeting, well read and discuss "Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire" (by Kurt Andersen) (© 2017). Fantasyland is organized into six sections, detailing the spread of magical thinking throughout the country's history to illustrate how the state of the nation today is an extension of fundamental American characteristics.

The discussion will be co-moderated by Earl R. Smith II, PhD. (https://www.dr-smith....).

IMPORTANT: If you wish to attend the discussion, we strongly recommend that you complete the reading assignment. Given that this meetup is being announced well over a month in advance, we hope it will give you enough time to read and familiarize yourself with the book.

For more info on the book from the publisher's website:

Here's a brief book summary from the publisher:

How did we get here?

In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen shows that what’s happening in our country today—this post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through—is not something new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character. America was founded by wishful dreamers, magical thinkers, and true believers, by hucksters and their suckers. Fantasy is deeply embedded in our DNA.

Over the course of five centuries—from the Salem witch trials to Scientology to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, from P. T. Barnum to Hollywood and the anything-goes, wild-and-crazy sixties, from conspiracy theories to our fetish for guns and obsession with extraterrestrials—our love of the fantastic has made America exceptional in a way that we've never fully acknowledged. From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams and epic fantasies—every citizen was free to believe absolutely anything, or to pretend to be absolutely anybody. With the gleeful erudition and tell-it-like-it-is ferocity of a Christopher Hitchens, Andersen explores whether the great American experiment in liberty has gone off the rails.

Fantasyland could not appear at a more perfect moment. If you want to understand Donald Trump and the culture of twenty-first-century America, if you want to know how the lines between reality and illusion have become dangerously blurred, you must read this book.

New York, - USA

Thursday, August 19 at 8:00 PM