Something for Nothing

Something for Nothing : Luck in America

3.63 (46 ratings by Goodreads)
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Hailed by The New York Review of Books as "one of cultural history's masters of linking popular moods and ideas with arts, philosophies, industries, and commodities," prizewinning historian Jackson Lears has now written the most important, most wide-ranging, and most original book of his career. In Something for Nothing Lears documents how America's culture of control is inextricably entwined with its culture of chance.

Conventional wisdom has it that the Protestant ethic of hard work and self-control is what made America great, but a deep, seldom acknowledged reverence for luck runs through our history as well. Americans have embraced the seductive whims of chance, from African fortune-telling to Puritan folk superstitions right up to the current resurgence of casinos and lotteries. Drawing on a vast body of research, Lears ranges through the entire sweep of American history as he uncovers the hidden influence of risk taking, conjuring, soothsaying, and sheer dumb luck on our culture, politics, social lives, and economy.

Written with impressive clarity and authority, Something for Nothing will be compared to Louis Menand's bestselling The Metaphysical Club and Ann Douglas's Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s. This is cultural history at its best-challenging, eye opening, deeply learned, and as surprising as it is illuminating.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 392 pages
  • 160.3 x 236.7 x 34.8mm | 689.47g
  • United States
  • English
  • 0670031739
  • 9780670031733

Rating details

46 ratings
3.63 out of 5 stars
5 20% (9)
4 43% (20)
3 22% (10)
2 11% (5)
1 4% (2)
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