Fantasyland by Kurt Andersen


A razor-sharp thinker offers a new understanding of our post-truth world and explains the American instinct to believe in make-believe, from the Pilgrims to P. T. Barnum to Disneyland to zealots of every stripe . . . to Donald Trump. In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen demonstrates that what’s happening in our country today—this strange, post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through—is not someth...

Details Fantasyland

Release DateSep 5th, 2017
PublisherRandom House
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Politics, Sociology, Philosophy, Psychology, 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. ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Kimberly
    My real rating is 4.5 stars, as the author's attacks on all religion get old; otherwise, his thesis and support hit me right where I live and believe. I highlighted 127 sections, which is not my norm, and I plan on digesting this book for a while.Thought-provoking, sometimes scary, but with the possibility of hope. We do live in Fantasyland, but we may be able to make it better.
  • Richard
    Through the Looking Glass! Instead of titling it Wonderland, the author titled it Fantasyland. A distinction without much of a difference, in my view. I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Written by NYT best-selling author Kurt Andersen, and published by Random House in 2017, the book is subtitled How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History. The author is uncannily perceptive i...
  • Paul
    For my money, this is perhaps the best book written in the past 20 years on American political and social culture. It's a brilliant synthesis of all the religious and thought movements that have taken place since the founding of the United States. Where it has led us as a country is to a place where truth isn't provable by research or observation or reporting but decided on the basis of what a person believes to be true. The book might have been ...
  • 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...
  • J. Walker
    I eagerly awaited the arrival of this book. I'd been a fan since TURN OF THE CENTURY, and when I heard the topic, I waited with bated breath. I found it on 9/11 in the East Village, at the Strand -as far south as I got this trip - and read it as I traveled back to California the next day.He is one-sided, he has his points to make, and I appreciate that. He certainly sticks to his premise, and throws a lot of historical detail into the pot to stew...
  • Stuart
    There is no uniform theory of the United States without a detailed discussion of slavery and its historical impact and continued impact on America. This book barely scraped the surface of the institution. By the time I got to the long discussion of the Woodstock generation, I had read enoughabout these really superficial items and put the book down. I don’t agree with the author’s overriding premise and I don’t recommend this book at all.
  • Jessica
    I had been thinking about the conflict between my atheism and my quintessentially American sensibility with respect to people's freedom to believe whatever stupid shit they want. This book addresses that difficulty in expansive historical fashion.
  • James O'donoghue
    A thorough and scrupulous account of America's steady departure from reality.
  • Mshelton50
    If you have an interest in American history, or current affairs, you should read this book.
  • Edwin Santana
  • Maynard
    Excellent historical analysis of how America go to where it is today.
  • Tom K
    Sprawling, comprehensive and tightly connected survey of the past 500 years of American national identity. Highly recommended, even if simply for the rationalist take on history of the USA.