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MaxLyons's review of Peter Swirski, American Utopia and Social Engineering in Literature, Social Thought, and Political History

★★★★★

“this book to all those who are passionate about ...”

Written on: 20/02/2017 by MaxLyons (1 review written)

I wanted to recommend this book to all those who are passionate about good literature and good scholarship which engage with and even point the way to a better life, in this case Utopia, and share about my experience of this book. American Utopia and Social Engineering is another great work deeply concerned with our society and its future written by Professor Swirski, a Distinguished Professor of American Studies and American Literature as well as Amazon's #1 Bestseller in American History and Criticism. There are five chapters here and a short introduction which ranges over Plato, More, Bellamy, utopia, advertising, evolution, IQ tests, education, and American literature. Professor Swirski follows with critical studies of a number of modern American classics such as B. F. Skinner’s Walden Two; Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest'Bernard Malamud's God's Grace, Walker Percy's The Thanatos Syndrome, and Philip Roth's alternative history A Plot against America. He thoughtfully analyzes them and their Utopian elements, both those fancy dreamed ideas of a better life in a better society and life-costing nightmares which embody social-engineering practices going as far back as Plato’s Republic.

As sharp and unique as always, equipped with broad knowledge of evolution, biology, psychology, sociology, neuroscience, and his literary expertise, professor Swirski brings an ironic (not to say commonsensical) perspective on daily life in American utopia to illustrate the marvelous humanity and philosophical points of views about these five novels and about life in the United States today. But this study is relevant to more than just American readers. Chinese scholar, for example, should read it too while paying vigilant attention to Xi’s Chinese Dream which is prevalent these days in the media for the sake of engineering Chinese society and world peace.

If you want to know more about Skinner’ Utopia or Roth's American Dystopia and how they relate to even pre-Soviet or Mao’s socialism in China, just read American Utopia and Social Engineering--not this month, this week, but today, now. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

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