Cover image for Twilight of American sanity : a psychiatrist analyzes the age of Trump / Allen Frances, MD.
Title:
Twilight of American sanity : a psychiatrist analyzes the age of Trump / Allen Frances, MD.
ISBN:
9780062394507
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [2017]

©2017
Physical Description:
326 pages ; 24 cm
Contents:
Trump isn't crazy. We are. -- Confronting the facts of life -- Why we make such bad decisions -- American exceptionalism -- How could a Trump triumph? -- Trump, tribalism, and the attack on democracy -- Defending democracy: the path forward -- Sustaining our brave new world -- the pursuit of happiness -- Team Earth -- Whither mankind?
Abstract:
It is comforting to see President Donald Trump as a crazy man, a one-off, an exception — not a reflection on us or our democracy. But in ways I never anticipated, his rise was absolutely predictable and a mirror on our soul. What does it say about us, that we elected someone so manifestly unfit and unprepared to determine mankind’s future? Trump is a symptom of a world in distress, not its sole cause. Blaming him for all our troubles misses the deeper, underlying societal sickness that made possible his unlikely ascent. Calling Trump crazy allows us to avoid confronting the craziness in our society — if we want to get sane, we must first gain insight about ourselves. Simply put: Trump isn’t crazy, but our society is. More than three years in the making: the world's leading expert on psychiatric diagnosis, past leader of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM (“the bible of psychology”), and author of the influential international bestseller on the medicalization of ordinary life, Saving Normal, draws upon his vast experience to deliver a powerful critique of modern American society’s collective slide away from sanity and offers an urgently needed prescription for reclaiming our bearings. Widely cited in recent months as the man who quite literally wrote the diagnostic criteria for narcissism, Allen Frances, M.D., has been at the center of the debate surrounding President Trump’s mental state — quoted in Evan Osnos’s May 2017 New Yorker article (“How Trump Could Get Fired”) and publishing a much-shared opinion letter in the New York Times (“An Eminent Psychiatrist Demurs on Trump’s Mental State”). Frances argues that Trump is "bad, not mad" — and that the real question to wrestle with is how we as a country could have chosen him as our leader. Twilight of American Sanity is an essential work for understanding our national crisis.
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Summary

Summary

"Unravel[s] the national psyche that brought our politics to this moment." -- Evan Osnos, The New Yorker

A landmark book, from "one of the world's most prominent psychiatrists" (The Atlantic): Allen Frances analyzes the nation, viewing the rise of Donald J. Trump as darkly symptomatic of a deeper societal distress that must be understood if we are to move forward. Equally challenging and profound, Twilight of American Sanity "joins a small shelf of essential titles--Arlie Hochschild's Strangers in Their Own Land is another--that help explain why and how the Trump presidency happened" (Kirkus).

It is comforting to see President Donald Trump as a crazy man, a one-off, an exception--not a reflection on us or our democracy. But in ways I never anticipated, his rise was absolutely predictable and a mirror on our soul. ... What does it say about us, that we elected someone so manifestly unfit and unprepared to determine mankind's future? Trump is a symptom of a world in distress, not its sole cause. Blaming him for all our troubles misses the deeper, underlying societal sickness that made possible his unlikely ascent. Calling Trump crazy allows us to avoid confronting the craziness in our society--if we want to get sane, we must first gain insight about ourselves. Simply put: Trump isn't crazy, but our society is. --from TWILIGHT OF AMERICAN SANITY

More than three years in the making: the world's leading expert on psychiatric diagnosis, past leader of the American Psychiatric Association's DSM ("the bible of psychology"), and author of the influential international bestseller on the medicalization of ordinary life, Saving Normal, draws upon his vast experience to deliver a powerful critique of modern American society's collective slide away from sanity and offers an urgently needed prescription for reclaiming our bearings. Widely cited in recent months as the man who quite literally wrote the diagnostic criteria for narcissism, Allen Frances, M.D., has been at the center of the debate surrounding President Trump's mental state--quoted in Evan Osnos's May 2017 New Yorker article ("How Trump Could Get Fired") and publishing a much-shared opinion letter in the New York Times ("An Eminent Psychiatrist Demurs on Trump's Mental State"). Frances argues that Trump is "bad, not mad"--and that the real question to wrestle with is how we as a country could have chosen him as our leader. Twilight of American Sanity is an essential work for understanding our national crisis.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Psychiatrist Frances is unwilling to join fellow mental-health professionals in assigning a diagnosis to Donald Trump. Instead, Frances views the 45th president's election as reflecting deeper dysfunctions in modern American life. Unfortunately, he cannot stop fulminating against the president, whom he calls "an irremediable creature of Stone Age emotions and medieval beliefs." Frances offers some good insights about societal delusions, but hurts his overall case with factual mistakes, such as claiming that "the U.S. has the greatest wealth inequality in the world," and hyperbole, such as stating that the U.S. is "deeply immersed in its most dystopian dark age." (More so than the Civil War or the Great Depression?) In making recommendations on how to counter Trump, he advocates support for such progressive grassroots groups as MoveOn and for global solutions to environmental problems, but with few or no specifics. Finally, the author doesn't do himself any favors with hackneyed sentences such as the following: "It has never been easy being human and our current challenges, difficult as they may seem, pale in comparison to the Black Plague or the 30 Years' War." Frances clearly has thought long and hard about Trumpism's many roots, but this attempt to analyze and respond to them never coheres. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Table of Contents

Prologue: Trump Isn't Crazy. We Arep. 1
Chapter 1 Confronting the Facts of Lifep. 9
Chapter 2 Why We Make Such Bad Decisionsp. 53
Chapter 3 American Exceptionalismp. 79
Chapter 4 How Could a Trump Triumph?p. 113
Chapter 5 Trump, Tribalism, and the Attack on Democracyp. 154
Chapter 6 Defending Democracy: The Path Forwardp. 177
Chapter 7 Sustaining Our Brave New Worldp. 215
Chapter 8 The Pursuit of Happinessp. 234
Chapter 9 Team Earthp. 268
Epilogue: Whither Mankind?p. 295
Acknowledgmentsp. 299
Notesp. 301
Indexp. 315

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