by: Mark Bauerlein
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin
Reviewed by: Michael Majdalany
Based on exhaustive research poring over numerous reports from government agencies, foundations, survey firms, and scholarly institutions in addition to historical and social analysis, Mark Bauerlein draws an alarming portrait of the young American mind. The technology that was supposed to make young adults more astute, diversify their tastes, and improve their minds has had the opposite effect. The author decries that most young people in the US do NOT read literature, work reliably, nor visit cultural institutions of any sort. They cannot explain basic scientific methods nor recount fundamental facts of American history, and do not feel the need to. Instead, they spend unbelievable amounts of time exchanging electronically stories and pictures (mostly of themselves), tunes and texts, dwelling in a world of puerile banter and self-absorbed pursuits.
Well-written (the author is a professor of English at Emory University), the book is a quick read and in spite of some pontification, suggests how we might address these deficiencies.