The Twilight of American Culture

This book was on the “must read’ list of business guru Mark Yarnell.
I’ll try to add more opinion later, for now, here are some quotes to wet your appetite.


  1. The United States, as Robert Kaplan suggests, is evolving into a corporate oligarchy that merely wears the trappings of a democracy. (page 3)
  2. I worked as a reading and writing tutor in a Washington D.C. charter high school… some of them at age sixteen or seventeen, had never heard of the Atlantic Ocean, did not know what 1999 meant, historically speaking, or thought the Civil War had taken place in the 1960s. One student thought that Washington D.C., was in the Midwest, and was not able to locate New York, Florida, or Texas on a sketchy map I drew of the United States. (page 11)
  3. America is no longer a middle-class society… Bill Gate’s net worth in 1998 – $46 billion was larger than the combined net worth of the bottom 40 percent of American households (page 21)
  4. Between 1979 and 1990, the number of American children living below the poverty line rose an astonishing 22 percent. (page 23)
  5. Forty-two percent of American adults cannot locate Japan on a world map, and another survey revealed that nearly 15 percent couldn’t locate the United States. (page 33)
  6. Of the 158 countries in the United Nations, the United States ranks 49th in literacy. Roughly 60 percent of the adult population has never read a book of any kind, and only 6 percent reads as much as one book a year, where book is defined to include Harlequin romances and self-help manuals. (page 36).
  7. America has become a gigantic dolt-manufacturing machine. (page 38)
  8. Whereas in 1981 twenty corporations control over half the eleven thousand magazines published in the United States, by 1988 that number dropped to three. (page 48)
  9. One of my reasons for writing [this book] was to create a kind of guidebook for disaffected Americans who feel increasingly unable to fit into this society, and how also feel that the culture has to change if it is to survive. (page 132)

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