Book Review of Dark Age Ahead

Here’s another book review by a friend:

Jane Jacobs, renowned author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, tackles a variety of modern, western societal issues in her book Dark Age Ahead. The book aims to warn readers of the breakdown of five main pillars of society that Jacobs identifies: community and family, higher education, the effective practice of science, taxation and government, and the self-regulation of the learned professions.  Jacobs argues that such societal ills as racism, environmental crisis, and the ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor are the direct effect of these crumbling pillars in our culture.  The book is meant to be a commentary on the way things are today as Jacobs sees it but also a warning of the things to come if changes are not made.  The tone is bleak yet hopeful at the same time, as Jacobs suggests how the cycles of decay can be halted and our way of life not necessarily doomed.

The book is written in a scholarly manner, with many references to historical writings, thinkers, and events.  The author uses these references as evidence of the impending age to come that she claims will be reminiscent of any “Dark Age” throughout history (not just the well-known single period of time that is usually labeled as “The Dark Ages” after the fall of the Roman Empire).  A Dark Age, Jacob’s contends, “is a culture’s dead end.”  It is possible to preserve our current western culture, she argues, and to not let it become obsolete.  This is the reader’s call to action by even just taking the first step in acknowledging the fact that perhaps some aspects of society are in need of saving before it’s too late.

Thought-provoking, smart, and well-researched, Dark Age Ahead is a fascinating book that calls into question the commonly held notion that the West is going nowhere but up.

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    • Isabella
    • February 21, 2012

    very nice article, I have been trying to look for this. Thanks!

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