Fantasyland by Kurt Andersen


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The single most important explanation, and the fullest explanation, of how Donald Trump became president of the United States . . . nothing less than the most important book that I have read this year.”—Lawrence O’Donnell 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 ...

Details Fantasyland

Release DateSep 5th, 2017
PublisherRandom House
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Politics, Psychology, Sociology, North American Hi..., American History

Reviews Fantasyland

  • Diane S ☔
    It seems like a great many of American citizens are living in a Fantasyland, a land where we can fool ourselves that those like minded people, people who share our beliefs, are n fact correct, truth telling. Seriously, how did we manage to get here, to a world and with a leader, who has taken his fantasies to a new level? The author shows us how this refusal to see other view points, often taking this to extreme levels, has always existed.He take...
  • Peter Mcloughlin
    This book is a witty and diverting romp through the horror of our current delusional culture and broken system. It is fun and apocalyptic at the same time. The author is funny and hits you with zingers and trenchant observations about the collapse of our culture, government, economic system and prospects for a sustainable future as we fall into a culture of delusion where reality is just your opinion man. He covers in a funny way how entertainmen...
  • Laurie
    This is a very interesting, and, I think, valuable book to have come out at this time and place. Surveys he cites show that one fifth of Americans think the 9/11 attacks were an inside job by American government agents, and four fifths believe that the Bible is factual history right down to the creation story. Only a third of us believe that the current climate changes are human caused. Various religious sects believe all the others are heretic. ...
  • David Rush
    Whooo! That was 442 pages of one angry guy venting. The first half has some pretty cool history anecdotes and when he makes value judgments I almost always agree with him at least in the beginning. But the whole thing is like a really long rambling talk with thousands of historical and cultural references. Kind of like if Dennis Miller was funny or smart or not a conservative stooge, you know if he was somebody completely different..then he would...
  • Lauren
    Remember when 'viral' was a bad thing, referring only to the spread of disease? Same goes for what you read and watch and believe. Andersen traces 500 years of cultural history that lead us to this moment where logic and rational thought are downplayed, where opinion equals fact, and where many choose to live in a complete "fantasyland". It's a trenchant analysis, and a very convincing one too. Andersen notes that from the very beginnings - the P...
  • Jason
    Chuck Palahniuk once said that while he is proud of Fight Club he is wary of any man who says it is his favourite book/movie. The same can be said for any truly thinking person who meets someone who found this book insightful or meaningful. To see this as anything other than ironic satire of the mindless state of modern liberalism is insane; to believe that the author has enough intelligence and craft to write such a thing is just as insane. This...
  • Mehrsa
    It's been a long time since I've tried to purposely read a book more slowly than I otherwise would because I just did not want it to end. This book was so riveting and interesting that I made myself savor it over a week instead of devouring it all at once, which is what I usually do. Yet I recommend it with a lot of trepidation because he demolishes every faith and every belief. Nothing is sacred--not even the word itself, which he believes is a ...
  • Leo Walsh
    A fun romp through "post-truth" America, where people make millions off of Americans' gullibility. Where Karl Rove, a White House official, can quip that "what we call the 'reality-based community,' where people believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." have it wrong. Because, according to Rove, "That's not the way the world really works anymore." In this America, people believe in easily-debunked fact-and-l...
  • Todd N
    Well, this has got to be the longest Spy Magazine article I have ever read. It’s too bad the book jacket doesn’t have a Photoshopped picture of Hillary and Trump on it. Come to think of it, there must be several good ones in the Spy archives left over from the 80s and 90s.The “Fantasyland” of the title is America, of course — the place where reality has a well-known liberal bias. The place where Republicans think it is ridiculous Russia...
  • Karla
    If you're one of those people who believes that the current insanity we're living through in America is a new infection, Andersen makes a convincing case that it's a virus America's had for quite some time. In fact, he asserts that it's part of our DNA and the outbreaks have cropped up in different forms over time since our "discovery" back in the 15th century. Europe sent over their best and the world's never been the same since.His case is part...
  • Gary
    I am in the minority regarding this book. I found it tedious, shallow and worst of all familiar. The author is out of his depth in his overall story that he’s trying to tell when he connects all of his facts about the past. He has a lot of facts that he presents about how Americans have (almost) always been willing to suspend disbelief and fail to use sufficient reason proportional to the credulity of the belief under consideration. Evolution i...
  • Kressel Housman
    I've been a fan of Kurt Andersen's radio show "Studio 360" for years, especially his "American Icons" series, so when I heard him promoting this book, I ordered it from my library immediately. What I did not realize, though, was that it was the perfect follow-up to the book I'd just finished because it picks up where that one was set: in the Puritan colonies. Roger Williams gets only two mentions in this book, but it's all about the down side of ...
  • Radiantflux
    65th book for 2017.Andersen's book, by taking an almost encyclopedic view of all that has been crazy in America since it's foundation, offers a very useful frame to understand contemporary events in the United States. Although it could be described a breezy romp through 500 years of delusion, it's breadth is very useful in understanding how comprehensive the rot is, and its lightness of touch offers the necessary sugar-coating to swallow the bitt...
  • Mal Warwick
    You will be amazed. In Kurt Andersen's shocking 500-year survey of US history, Fantasyland, you'll learn just how truly exceptional America is—and not in a good way.Who is responsible for "fake news?"If you think only Donald Trump, Fox News, anonymous online pundits, and Russian hackers have a monopoly on "fake news," guess again. Andersen relates countless incidents of purportedly true accounts of satanic cults, multiple personality disorder, ...
  • Dennis Diehl
    Unfortunately, those with the most to gain from Fantasyland are those most likely to never read it.
  • Robert Gustavo
    I don’t know what I expected, given the title, but the author is basically an asshole speaking to the converted. The premise is fairly straightforward — Protestantism makes each person the ultimate authority on The Truth, and that founding America on Protestantism has led to an America where facts and figures are a matter of opinion. And, there is probably a decent argument to be made along those lines.But, Kurt Andersen doesn’t make that a...
  • Cat
    Holy smokes there's a lot going on here. That was exhausting. My knee jerk reaction to this is that it's incredibly broad in scope, but not very deep. I repeatedly found myself wishing Andersen would just stick with a topic for more than what seemed to be the average of 4 pages before jumping on to the next. Every time I got to a section that started to pull me in, he moved on. In that way I can totally understand arguments that the anecdotes and...
  • Book
    Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen“Fantasyland” is a provocative book that describes how being being free to believe anything in America has metastasized out of control. Bestselling author, contributor to Vanity Fair and The New York Times, and radio show host Kurt Andersen provides compelling arguments from many angles that America in essence has mutated into Fantasyland and has led to the presidency o...
  • Heidi Ward
    (Trigger warning for fundamentalists, cosplayers, climate change deniers, Reiki practitioners, anti-vaxxers, humorless socialists, Scientologists, and Trump true believers.)This book couldn't have hit shelves at a more perfect, pertinent time. Andersen traces the lineage of American super-credulity all the way back to its founding folly: "America" as we know it was seeded with the hopes dreams of an extreme religious sect, with a fervent belief i...
  • Todd Martin
    We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking.- Mark TwainYou’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving … our press secretary gave alternative facts.- Kellyanne ConwayIn his 1963 book Anti-intellectualism in American Life Richard Hofstadter noted that, unique among the developed world, U.S. citizens were particularly impervious to factual information. A half century later, despite the prevalence of technology that place...
  • Marya
    As you would expect from a book that explains 500 years worth of history in less than 500 pages, the prose is fast and breezy, whizzing from one awakening to another (sometimes capitalized, sometimes not). Andersen roots the American psyche in two distinct strains of immigration. The first seeks to remake itself with the supposed riches found in the New World. I say supposed because Andersen points out these are the individuals who fell for the p...
  • Harry Allagree
    Watching a TV interview of Kurt Andersen on "All In With Chris Hayes" led me read this book. It's a well-written "walk down Memory Lane" for me, though I did feel that maybe a dozen pages toward the end were somewhat repetitious. Throughout my almost 81 years on this earth I've experienced & loathed what Andersen calls the "fantasy-industrial complex" more times than I can remember. Was I part of it; did I contribute my share to it, consciously o...
  • Nick Anderson
    If you're finding yourself following the news and wondering "What exactly tf is going on and how did we get here?" may I recommend Fantasyland? Kurt Andersen delivers with this exhaustive but always entertaining look at the United States as a land built by and for magical thinkers, hustlers, snake oil salesmen, doomsday prophets, and all manner of BSers across a full spectrum of delusional thinking, leading up to the present day with the election...
  • Rose
    Ever ask yourself What is going on and how did we get here ?Well Fantasyland puts a whole lot of it in perspective. The author clearly links how delusional Americans have been since the beginning of our great nation. He starts with the puritans to modern day conspiracy theorists and they now have the ear of our president.Remember those guys who threw Galileo under house arrest for saying the earth is flat? Well they are still here today, they are...
  • Andy Klein
    This work would have made a decent article in the New Yorker. But expanded into a long book, we are left with the author shoehorning every conceivable--and many inconceivable and some patently ludicrous--examples of fantasies to fill out a book and try to make his point. There are explanations about how we arrived at Donald Trump and why so many people were taken in by him, but Anderson doesn't have the intellectual firepower to unearth and expla...
  • Elisa Winter
    Yes. Yes. Yes. But what do we do about it?? The history of the problem is very interesting. The possible real time real news solutions are absent. But worth the read just so you can hang your head in shame for magical thinking and all it's cousins.
  • Nora
    This is one of those contagious books I ended up talking about to anyone who didn't walk away fast enough. It was so interesting, so well-researched, and so timely -- I wanted every smart person I know to read it immediately. And maybe a few of the less-smart ones.
  • Kusaimamekirai
    I’m a big fan of NBA basketball. Earlier this year a seemingly thoughtful star athlete on the Cleveland Cavaliers named Kyrie Irving (who briefly attended the prestigious Duke University), made waves at a press conference after a game. Somehow the conversation had turned to science and Irving, to the astonishment of those in attendance claimed because he had traveled all around the world multiple times he could say that the world is flat, not r...
  • Tonstant Weader
    Fantasyland is a history of the United States through one particular lens – our infatuation with fantasy from hyper-religiosity to science denialism. One way of looking at American colonization, for example, is that was driven by dissenters, people seeking freedom to worship according to their own beliefs. Another way is to see them as fantasists seeking a place to indulge their penchant to invent new doctrine. Looking through Kurt Andersen’s...
  • David
    I literally neglected work because I couldn't make myself stop listening to this yesterday except when I had to! (note: a nearly 20 hour audiobook listened to in a 60 hour period).This is a history book about our nation's peculiar love of the fantastic, much more so than other nations, from our high concentration of literal-supernatural interpretations of religion to our love of entertainment. Andersen actually manages to connect this convincingl...